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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI
Trump Disbands Business Advisory Groups; Source: Trump "Without Regret" Over Comments; Republicans Rebuke Trump's Charlottesville Comments; German Leaders To Trump: Stand Up Against Nazis; Israeli Leaders Slam Trump Remarks On Rally; Anne Frank Center Condemns Trump's Remarks; Trump On Monument Removal: "Where Does It Stop?" Aired 3-4p ET
Aired August 16, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Paula Newton in for Hala Gorani live from CNN New York. This is the WORLD RIGHT NOW.
Sources say U.S. President Donald Trump is defined as the backlash grows over his comments equating white supremacists and the counter-protesters
who oppose them in Virginia.
Now he is plunging forward apparently with, quote, "no regrets." One source has told our Jeff Zeleny now Mr. Trump has just disbanded two top
CEO Advisory Council after eight business and union leaders already had walked away.
It has been a busy afternoon here in New York. He tweeted and I'll remind you, just a few blocks from here, New York, that "Rather than putting
pressure on the business people of the manufacturing council and strategy and policy forum, I am ending both."
Now after the president blamed, quote, "both sides" for the ugly display of violence in Charlottesville, of course, top Republicans is now denouncing
the far right.
Now Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeting, "Mr. President. I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in
Charlottesville, your words are dividing Americans, not healing them."
Joining me now, CNN White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, he is in Washington, and CNN contributor, Salena Zito, who is in Pittsburgh,
Stephen, I will start with you. It has been fast-paced afternoon here trying to follow exactly the corporate fallout from this. How much of a
blow is this to the White House because you know (inaudible) and the president is going to be, I do not need them.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. I think it's a blow in terms of President Trump's prestige. He was going to be the CEO president.
One of the great pictures of his campaign was that he knew all these corporate titans. He could get them together.
He could do deals. He could get Americans a better deal in the economy, which many of them believe has left him behind, so I think it is a personal
blow and let's just step back a little bit.
What is happening here is the CEOs of some of America's most blue-chip companies for the sake of their own brands are separating themselves in the
president of United States and the White House, which is normally one of the most prestigious and sought-after affiliations you can get if you are a
So, it is a big deal. I think it is a sign of the increasing isolation of the White House, but the reaction of some Republicans who have condemned
Trump sentiments without necessarily condemning him personally shows that that core support of Donald Trump's is perhaps not quite as outraged
morally about what the president said on Tuesday as the corporate world, the media world, and the sort of the rest of the world it appears.
NEWTON: Yes. In fact, Stephen, a lot of them will agree with the president calling them, in fact, grandstanders. Salena, I want to go to
you now. And you have pointed out that it is important to look at what is at the root cause of this.
A lot of people have looked at what happened at Charlottesville and think where does this come from. Where is it resonating and why did Donald want
to give it lip service?
SALENA ZITO, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, I mean, there's always been a portion within this society of people to the far left or to the far
right. This is in particular of people to the far right, who believed in this supremacy (inaudible).
And while I would argue that that it is not his base, that is a small percentage of people that voted for him, what it does is because of the way
that the president has prosecuted this, his handled it, it give impression and then it gives the people on social media the license to then paint a
broad stroke of all Trump supporters being racist.
[15:05:04] And I think that is not good. That is unhealthy. That is completely untrue, and once again in this country, we have an incredibly
difficult time discussing race and racial issues.
What should have been a discussion about what is the proper placement of statues in public -- in public parks of the confederacy that honored a time
when we were at battle with each other has not been able to happen because it was hijacked by these thugs or these white nationalists.
And we are again sort of focusing on the turmoil and not discussing race in the way that we should.
NEWTON: I want to bring in now cultural critic, Michaela Angela Davis. She is here with me in New York. I know you are going to say is that it is
not about statues. What is it about?
MICHAELA ANGELA DAVIS, CULTURAL CRITIC/WRITER: You know, it's about America having an opportunity to move the work forward. We are at another
flashpoint as we were 50 years ago. You know, the Civil Right Museum is about to celebrate 15 years of continuous civil rights work.
Now this generation is facing its civil rights work through this flashpoint and as I said earlier, Heather Heyer is an American patriot, who gave her
life in service of the American project.
So, I just want to honor her first today and this is what this is about, who does America get to be now and what do we do in this moment and who are
all the players that are part of that movement and where are their voices?
And where they can stand out and what are they going to do rather than just denounce it? What comes after denouncing? What comes after naming? Where
is the work and so that is what -- I mean, there are Jewish Americans who survived the holocaust.
There are refugees from the south who survived Jim Crow who are triggered right now, who are in pain, who are seeing swastikas in the American flag
walked down together and American street.
What do we do now? That's what at stake, the soul and humanity of America is at stake, and the world can see it.
NEWTON: But Michaela, what -- when you say what's at stake, I mean, we had the "Access Hollywood" tape -- Donald Trump was elected after that. There
are many women that were absolutely disgusted after that. You are talking about moving forward. Nothing changed. Why is this different?
DAVIS: So things have changed and part of it is we just came out of an administration, a White House, with a beautiful, brilliant, scandal-free
black family. That is different and that caused such a reaction.
That is when he saw the hate -- the FBI records show. The data proves this out that the hate groups grew during this time. The international and the
digital sort of civil war began with the Obama administration.
So, this civil war that we saw on the streets of Charlottesville began with that administration. So, things are very different, but what we have not
really done is reckoned with America beginning with a remarkable document called the Constitution, but also beginning with genocide and slavery.
We began with stolen land and stolen labor. One group saying that they were better saying that they were the patriots and now we have American
patriots from all walks of life.
We have people who gave their lives for this country particularly from the civil rights, who have a stake in this country as Americans. White
Americans now get to have the opportunity to fight for what this country is about in the same way that Martin Luther King fought in the same way that
people are fighting down at the border.
White America has an opportunity to reckoned with its history in a way that they never have before, but Donald Trump -- made in America.
NEWTON: Sorry. I just want to get Stephen in here for a second. You know, a lot of what Michaela is talking about is what is in the hearts of
many Americans. It does not seem to in the heart of this president. How do you go forward? How do the White House go forward? How do Congress go
COLLINSON: I think we are going to see how the relationship between Congress and the president develops when the lawmakers get back from their
districts in September and get to work in some rather crucial issues, including raising the debt ceiling.
I think had this incident happened in September, they would have been under a lot more pressure to come out on camera and condemn it as it is. You've
got the House speaker. You've got the senate majority leader, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who have put out paper statements and haven't emerged
publicly because they do not have to.
So, I think there is some chance that some of the political impact for Donald Trump, at least as regards to the Republican Party is dissipated as
long as he does not inflame it even more.
[15:10:09] And that's always a possibility as we know with this president by the time he gets back to Washington, but on the wider sense to these
questions of race and culture, the performance of the president yesterday was not the kind of performance that amounts to a show of moral leadership
that creates space for these questions to be debated in a way that does not inflame passions.
So, I think as long as that's the case, it appears that the United States right now has a president who acts in a way that inflames these issues
rather than gets us towards solving them.
NEWTON: Yes. And although, and Salena, I want to bring you in here again, although you know that many people and many of Trump supporters will say
it's actually the media inflaming this right now.
You know behind closed doors perhaps not publicly on social media that they are saying this is a matter of, quote, "white heritage" and it is something
that's the kind of words that apparently (inaudible) in the West Wing.
Where are those groups right now and do you expect that they will continue to support this president?
ZITO: The groups, the white heritage groups?
NEWTON: No, in general -- these Trump voters who say, look, I still support him.
ZITO: You know, I mean, look, I think Donald Trump is at a place where his presidency can't fail him underneath the weight on his own (inaudible).
That he has greatly misunderstood his base.
His base elected him because of the politics of conflict. They wanted politics -- you know, reason, they wanted politics of results. And because
he has this very sort of strong grudge with the media and he gets out there yesterday and you know, you can just tell that whatever happened on
Saturday with his initial statement, whatever happened on Monday with his follow-up statement, it burned him.
That he didn't feel in his mind that he got just sort of acceptance of what he said. And he came out there and you know, he wanted to, you know, poke
the eye of the press. Not about them, but to show them, you know, my original statement holds true.
And he failed miserably and the thing about grudge is and you know, what the people that support him, they are so, you know, engaged for voters on
his personal grudge with the press.
You know, they went in there for results and that I think that that is his problem. I don't think that he is -- he's not dislodged his supporters
yet, but if, you know, if he has made this so impossible to get anything done and so skewered the well, then I think going forward he has a really
NEWTON: Yes. And that an important point. They voted -- I am sorry I'm going to have to end the conversation there. As we said, he is there
apparently for results and that base will be looking, though, something that's been made much harder now as these two economic councils are
I thank you all as we continue this conversation now. Donald Trump's words reverberated out of the lobby of Trump Tower and right around the world.
Some of the strongest voices pushing back against his sentiments came from Germany.
The country's foreign minister has this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIGMAR GABRIEL, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The American debate has shown with how much indignity the first remarks of the American
president were received in the United States.
This seems to be the reason that he now corrects himself, but the outrage was right and we see what can happen when you give free reign to right-wing
extremists. Above all, this should be seen as a lesson for us in Europe and Germany.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: A lesson for us in Europe and Germany, and Social Democratic Party leader, Mark Schultz, tweeted, "One must denounce Nazis definitively. What
Trump is doing is inflammatory. Whoever trivializes violence and hate betrays Western values."
CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Beirut, but, of course, reported extensively from Germany. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Images like that were reality in Germany only about 70 years ago, and certainly there
are some people with some pretty bad memories of those times.
And so certainly for them that's not something that you mess with and I think that a lot of Germans believed that the people who attend rallies
like that, who where that kind of stuff, who display that kind of stuff, but either they are not sure about the gravity of what they are doing or
they do not care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Now many of the white supremacist demonstrators in Charlottesville were chanting anti-Semitic slogans. As you can imagine there has also been
extensive reaction from Israel.
[15:15:09] Oren Liebermann is tracking that angle from Jerusalem. I mean, Oren, I cannot imagine what it is like to actually look at that video over
and over and hear slogans that you would expected to hear in the 1930s.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Look, if Fred in Germany is the most sensitive place to whip around Nazi symbols, Israel would have to
be the second most sensitive place to make anti-Semitic remarks and be looking at a white supremacist rally.
And that's largely why we've seen such a condemnation from across the political spectrum here. We've seen it from the left. We've seen it from
the right. A lot of it sliming directly President Donald Trump pretending to draw some sort of moral equivalency between a neo-Nazi white supremacist
rally and the counter-protesters.
I'll read just one second line, but keep in mind, there are many of these coming from all different politicians from all different parties here.
This particular statement comes from (inaudible). He is the chairman of the (inaudible) Party, and he says this.
"There are two sides. When neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville and scream slogans against Jews and in support of white supremacy, the condemnation
has to be unambiguous. They represent hate and evil, and even believes in the human spirit must stand against them without fear."
And again, we've seen comments like that coming from many different politicians here and certainly it is no surprise. The big surprise here is
that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had a fairly muted reaction.
His only reaction -- his only direct reaction came on social media where he put a short statement that only three days after the white supremacist
rally in Charlottesville and only after Trump himself condemned white supremacist, racism, and other members of that rally there.
Netanyahu has not criticized Trump directly or indirectly ever since Trump took office, and it seems that is not changing now. Netanyahu apparently
treading very lightly and frankly, Paula, he's catching (inaudible) here for not coming out much more forcefully on this like we have seen other
politicians come out.
NEWTON: Yes. Oren, just before I let you go, it has to be said, right, Donald Trump has always said that Israel knows no better friend than he,
how's that going over right now?
LIEBERMANN: Well, if the question is does that change the relationship between Netanyahu and Trump, I would say the answer is no. These two have
known each other for years, if not decades, and that's part of the reason at least why Netanyahu is so careful here.
It won't change and it should be noted that there are many Israelis who are pro-Trump. I suspect it will not change that perception. It will not
change the fact that admiration of Trump.
We'll see if it does over the long run perhaps if there are multiple instances like this, but it has not yet and there has been other criticism
from Israel directed at Trump for some of the statement he's made in the past.
For example, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, but at least this I would say wouldn't affect the relationship between Netanyahu and Trump or the broader
relationship putting aside that two leaders between America and Israel.
NEWTON: Yes. A very insightful and interesting angle to all these. Oren, thanks for bringing it to us.
Now meantime, the repugnant anti-Semitic chants we have heard from Charlottesville are generating outrage. You can imagine from groups like
the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. In a tweet, the organization linked President Trump to domestic terrorism and urged Twitter to shut down
Steven Goldstein wrote that tweet. He is the executive director of the Anne Frank Center. And I want to ask you, do you stand by that tweet and
STEVEN GOLDSTEIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ANNE FRANK CENTER FOR MUTUAL RESPECT: Standby it strongly and perhaps I did not go far enough. The president of
the United States is an accomplice to terrorism.
The president of the United States aided and abated terrorism because hate groups including the KKK endorsed the president and was celebrated what he
In the aftermath of those remarks, they were new hate rallies across America. What else would we call it if that is not an accomplice to
NEWTON: And not to mention that someone lost her life at the rally as well and there were injuries. You know, there has been so much written online
on social media right now an op-ed in the "New York Times" and wonder, it you know, it really struck me is the title was "what Jewish children
learned from Charlottesville."
And he said that the press conference that were talking about from Trump Tower, about 24 hours ago, it collectively millions of years of dignity,
civility, progress was lost. Do you agree with that and if so, why?
GOLDSTEIN: I do agree and more importantly than that, I agree, Holocaust survivors agree. My organization represents and has a whole board of
survivors. Holocaust survivors are crying.
They could not believe that 72 years after the end of World War II, Nazis are marching in America, killed people, and the president of the United
States cannot clearly condemn Nazis and say there are very fine people among the Nazis.
Holocaust survivors are asking, we are asking, all good people of goodwill are asking is this America? What is the president of the United States
doing to America?
The greatest generation did not fight to see our president destroy the bully pulpit of the presidency. All that is left is the bully without the
pulpit. People who have endured Nazi Germany are in tears. He has disgraced our nation. He is an accomplice to terrorism.
NEWTON: In terms of you saying that those are strong words and you know what Donald Trump himself and his supporters will say, he has Jewish
grandchildren. His daughter is Jewish. There is no way this man is racist or anti-Semite.
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. Let's get something clear. It is offensive when President Trump trots out his Jewish relatives Ivanka and Jared as cynical
talking points to deflect his anti-Semitism.
I want to make one thing clear. I am calling President Trump a racist. I am calling him an anti-Semite because we are seeing a pattern again and
again, if it quacks like a duck repeatedly and it walks like a duck repeatedly and refuses to condemn neo-Nazi, white supremacy again and
again. What is it? Racism and anti-Semitism.
NEWTON: He is your president. Where do you go from here? He will be your president for the next three and a half years.
GOLDSTEIN: We'll see if he will be my president for the next three and a half years because I have never seen such bipartisan outrage. What the
president does not understand is, he is losing Democratic and Republican support because of his handling of Charlottesville. He is self-
destructing. So, frankly I am not sure that the person who will remove himself from office is anybody but him.
NEWTON: We will continue to explore these issues. We really appreciate your insights today. Thank you.
GOLDSTEIN: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.
NEWTON: Still to come, the power of history, for some they are symbols of a glorious past. You've heard us talk about them today. There is one
coming down right there. For others, you have to remember these are reminders of racism.
We are going to take a closer look at the controversy raging in the United States over those confederate monuments you see right there.
NEWTON: Now the still very explosive national conversation happening right across the country this week began with a fight over one statue, this one,
a man on the horse is Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a supporter of slavery.
Now the city of Charlottesville voted to remove the statue triggering Friday's supremacist march. The statues right across the American south
are becoming similar flashpoints, some even being removed by local governments under cover of night in order to obviously try and get away
from the controversy.
[15:25:06] We want to bring in Harold Holzer. He is the director of Hunter College's Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. He also wrote the book
"Lincoln President Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter."
You know, just before we go to the conversation, I want to point out that CNN has now heard from the great-great-grandson of, of course, Robert E.
Lee and the man in that statue right there.
And he is pretty unequivocal saying, "We have to have a conversation without all the hatred and the violence, and if they choose to take down
those statues fine."
He is saying maybe with context they belong in a museum. Is this a historical argument or is this something that just resonates oh so much
about race relations right now?
HAROLD HOLZER, HUNTER COLLER: Well, it was a historical argument. We have been having this argument in the historical community for the last year and
iconoclasm as our response to changing historical memory is not new in the United States.
Three days after the Declaration of Independence was read aloud in New York City. Patriots tore down a statue of King George III at Bowling Green and
smashed it up and melted it into bullets to fight the British with.
So, there is sort of a tradition of doing that. Robert E. Lee himself will leave aside the slavery support, which is certainly true. He never wanted
there to be confederate memorials of any kind, including to him.
His surrender, which is probably his finest moment, at least as far as I am concerned, in which he said let us not have any guerrilla warfare. Let us
end this. Let's go back to our homes.
He didn't deal with black rights, but at least, he stopped the bloodshed that killed 750,000 Americans, the equivalent of about 12 million today.
He said let us have no more images or memorials that stimulate this kind of sectional discord.
He probably would have been disappointed that he was made the centerpiece of that movement years after his death.
NEWTON: While there is certainly no historical perspective like that anywhere to be found in these white supremacist marches. I do want to take
you back, though, to the Donald Trump's speech from yesterday.
It's important because, you know, I'm not the expert you are. Let us hear what he said about those statues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This week it's Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder,
is the George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself where does it stop?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: You know, where does it stop? First off, in historical sense, you know, some people would accuse him of being revisionist, is it? And on the
other hand, from a historical perspective, you know, he is going to find favor with some people who say you cannot erase all of our history.
HOLZER: I have two responses. One is that there is a difference between history and memory. A history is what happened. Memory is how it is
interpreted later to continue to stir passions and bring in the case of the Civil War uniquely to sustain a losing argument, a racist argument, a white
Which was the point of the confederate memorials that were imposed on public squares in a reunited states in the 1890s in the era of birth of a
nation and that kind of revisionism. So that is point number one.
Point number two is when Donald Trump or anyone else says what is next, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington? We are having a very healthy
argument in this country. Again, thanks to historians like Annette Gordon Reed about Thomas Jefferson.
And how you explain the dichotomy between the man capable of such gorgeous words about the meeting of all men are created equal and yet was capable
hypocritically of owning people of having a slave mistress, possibly against her will bear his children.
That is a reasonable argument, but to say that founders who had deep, deep flaws and could not see the forest for their own trees were the same as
traders who fought for slavery and were responsible for such mass destruction is, guess what, two words, false equivalency.
We have been hearing a lot about that and that is President Trump's misunderstanding of history.
NEWTON: Yes. And I think your voice is echoed by many who say he needs to go back and hit the books. And again, I just have to say, there are a lot
of people principally African-Americans think this is not about history or a statue.
We are going to have to leave it there unfortunately, but I really appreciate you giving us an education on this.
HOLZER: Good to be here. Thank you.
NEWTON: Still ahead on your world today --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want this to spread. I don't want this to die. This is just the beginning of Heather's legacy. This is not the end of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: OK, you have to come back to see this. Family and friends remember the life of a remarkable woman killed on Saturday in
Charlottesville. Our conversation about race in America, and the strong reaction over President Trump's remarks will continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing grace. How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I was once --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Chilling words, aren't they? Words of amazing grace sung to honor the life of Heather Heyer. Now, she was the counter protester killed on
Saturday when a car rammed into a crowd opposing a racist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Her parents showed amazing grace today. This is what they shared at a public memorial held for her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK HEYER, FATHER OF HEATHER HEYER: We just need to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other. I think that's what the Lord would want us to
do, is to stop and just love one another.
BRO: They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what? You just magnified her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: The practical jubilation there with her coming out with those very strong words. Our Rosa Flores now joins me from Charlottesville.
Rosa, I have to tell you, you know, just reading about this young lady, the things that she posted even on social media, saying if you're outraged,
you're not paying attention. I was chilled just watching it on T.V. Tell us what the mood has been like there.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, I was inside that memorial service, and I can tell you that there was a lot of emotion. There was a
lot of pain. It was filled with family, friends, coworkers, and also just strangers, people wearing purple because Heather Heyer loved the color
A lot of those people have also left messages here on the very street where that car plowed into a crowd of protesters, killing Heather Heyer and also
injuring 19 others. But you can see that there are a lot of flowers, the outpouring of support from this community in support of Heather Heyer.
[15:35:00] And we learned a lot about her during this memorial service. From her grandfather, that she loved being carried when she was a child but
carried in a backpack. And that she defended herself and that she would ask a lot of questions and question why her brother had more privileges
than she did.
And then we heard from her mother as well, not only those words that you heard earlier today, but also about her daughter. And saying that when you
have a daughter with strong conviction, that it's not the easiest -- the easiest to raise a daughter like that, but she mentioned that it was always
for justice and for a purpose.
And we see a lot of messages here about what Heather Heyer represented for her family and for her friend. Like you see this one message here that
says, for truth, for justice, for love. That is what she represented, and that is how her friends and her family want her to be remembered. Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, Rosa. Thanks so much for bringing that to us. It has been so incredible to see the outpouring there, from all walks of life, that
have come together in memorial for this young lady. Rosa Flores there, just outside the memorial. Appreciate it.
Now, turning back to the political fallout from this, a source tells CNN the new White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, was still very frustrated
with how the President's bizarre press conference played out for cameras. And on those cameras, also caught was Kelly himself with his head down as
President Trump argued with reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I couldn't have made it sooner because they didn't know all of the facts. Frankly, people still
don't know all the facts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who wrote that statement?
TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. It was --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: I am -- just look at his face there. It says it all. When Kelly was hired as Chief of Staff, there was hope that the retired Marine Corps
General would rein in the President's more spontaneous impulses. Apparently not. But Mr. Trump's wild press conference showed a president
comfortable speaking his own mine and obviously not willing to change.
Now, one of those reports being yelled at was our own -- CNN's Jim Acosta.
Jim, you're live now from Bridgewater, New Jersey. We expect that's where the President will go next.
I mean, tell us a little bit more about what's going on inside the White House because I know, from both sides of the aisle, they look at General
Kelly and say, for goodness sake, this has got to be a man who can have some influence over this President.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, he was brought in to bring order and discipline to the White House. It's not
clear yet whether he's going to be able to bring order and discipline to the President of the United States. That is a tall order for John Kelly.
He is said to be disappointed with what went down yesterday. And I was just talking with a pretty well-placed Republican source who said that
White House officials are not happy with the way things went down yesterday. They feel like the President was thrown off message, and he
He could've easily walked into Trump Tower yesterday, into the lobby of Trump Tower, delivered a statement as scheduled on infrastructure and gone
right back into that elevator, and let his Monday statement stand. But he simply could not resist the temptation to fire back at reporters who were
asking those questions, including myself, about these shifting explanations for what he believes happened in Charlottesville.
And what we saw yesterday expressed by the President was his true, unvarnished, unplugged feelings about the matter. He feels that those
counter protesters who were down there to protest against Nazis and Whites supremacists are just as responsible for the violence as the Nazis and the
White supremacists themselves.
Obviously, that is a message that is doing great damage to his administration right now. But at this point, we're not seeing any mass
defections. And as a matter of fact, Paula, last night, the White House was issuing talking points to a surrogate, saying that the President was
NEWTON: Yes, and we are going to get some of those talking points later in the show. Jim, I have to ask you. We just had a split screen up of, you
know, his one statement from the teleprompter and then that performance, press conference, yesterday.
You know, you've watched this man for a long time. It was clear that, one, looked like he was under duress and the other was him speaking from the
heart. You know, we have our Jeff Zeleny reporting that, look, he's this without regret now. He doesn't have any regret about what happened
NEWTON: Let's focus again on the people around him. Do you get any indication that they will change? Great, you can't change the President,
but will you change? Will you change your behavior, or will you quit?
ACOSTA: Yes, I don't think much matters when it comes to the officials who are serving the President. The tone is set by the President himself. And
when the President walks out into the lobby of Trump Tower, remember, that is his home. He lives there when he is not at the White House. He was
feeling very comfortable expressing these thoughts.
[15:39:59] What we heard from the President is exactly how he feels on the subject. He agrees with many of the views of these White nationalists who
seem to have these resentments about Confederate statues coming down. You heard the President saying yesterday, well, what's next, George Washington
and Thomas Jefferson?
That is just not a view of -- I'm in suburban New Jersey right now, Paula. You can walk into some of these chain restaurants behind me, and go up to
the people in there. You're going to find a very small percentage of the customers in those restaurants who would agree with those views that
statues to Confederate figures are just as important as monuments of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
What you heard from President yesterday is a reflection of his worldview. And his worldview is, is that he is politically benefited by this very
energetic far right base of the Republican Party. And he has made this decision, and it could be a fateful decision, that he is going to stick by
that base no matter what.
NEWTON: OK. Our Jim Acosta. Always good to see, especially as you await the arrival, back in New Jersey, of the President. Thanks, Jim.
Now, speaking of those leading Republicans, they are taking a stand in the wake of President Trump's remarks. Now, former presidential candidate and
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, in part: Mr. President, you can't allow White supremacists to share only part of the blame. They support the idea
which caused nation and world so much pain.
Now, on the other hand, Vice President Mike Pence, while calling Charlottesville, of course, a tragedy, says he stands with the President
and the President's words.
So while most Republican leaders are rejecting Mr. Trump's remarks, there are mixed responses. Some denouncing Mr. Trump by name, others strong but
more generic in their criticism. And at least one, though, sticking it up for him.
CNN commentator and Republican strategist Doug Heye says he no longer wants to receive the White House talking points. He joins me now from
To recap here, Jim Acosta was just talking about it though. I was pretty stunned. No sooner had people been talking about what Donald Trump said at
Trump Tower, that the White House had talking points blaring, what, that Donald Trump is right.
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, that's the White House press office's job. And I don't -- unfortunately, I don't fault them for
that. I just didn't want to receive that kind of information anymore or, frankly, anything else from this White House or the Republican National
Committee where I work.
I was -- I've never supported Donald Trump, but I was done getting, you know, those kinds of statements from the White House. And I'll relay to
you, to your last segment with Jim about the new Chief of Staff, about six weeks ago, I talked to Reince Priebus, and he asked me, what was I hearing?
I told him, well, it's not very good. And he asked if that was a staff issue, and I said, no, Reince, there's one issue and there's only one
issue. And as long as Donald Trump is the President, this White House is only going to have one issue. And I think that's exactly what we saw just
over the past few days. And it's a really unfortunate thing, in a very small way, for the Republican Party and, in a very big way, for the
NEWTON: You know, those are strong words, but I also just want to remind everyone, you know, that those talking points are significant, and what
they say -- I'll just show everyone.
The President was entirely correct. Both sides of the violence in Charlottesville acted improperly and bear some responsibility. He has been
a voice for unity and calm, encouraging the country to, to quote now, rediscover the bonds of love and loyalty that bring us together as
Yes. How was that for the President in terms of uniting everyone? I think the point here, Doug, is that those are Republicans receiving those talking
points. And yet Republicans have not spoken out in a way that even many other conservatives want to hear from them. Why not?
HEYE: Well, I'd first, you know, a lot of Republicans haven't really echoed those talking points. They've taken them and they've ignored them,
which is a good step. Look, there's a -- the reality is, for Republican candidates, for Republican members of Congress and Senators, they're still
looking at where their voters are.
And if the number -- the next poll we see -- we'll see one tomorrow or Friday, most likely -- that will say that Donald Trump's numbers are at an
all-time low, and that will probably be true, the question is, where are Republican voters and how much have they fallen -- how much has Donald
Trump fallen out of favor with them?
If that's been a significant drop, you'll see a lot more. I'd like to see more people speaking out forcefully. But as long as Republican voters are
still supportive of the President and/or his agenda, I don't think it's going to be terribly likely.
NEWTON: But, Doug, help us out here. What should we keep in mind about voters who look at Trump and say, I don't understand the media hysteria?
He just -- you know, he is just plain speaking the way a lot of us might plain speak at our kitchen tables or at work.
HEYE: You know, I've spent a lot of time in my home state of North Carolina this year and talking to a lot of Republican voters. And the one
thing I have heard really consistently is what I would call, "yes, but."
And they'll say, yes, the tweets Donald Trump aren't great. Yes, some of his statements seem a little unhinged. But they support his policies.
They support changing Washington. And that's the main thing to remember.
Washington is so unpopular right now that a major part of the Republican Party will not abandon him, even in the light of just the most recent
comments. We'll see if this is the tipping point. But, you know, Paula, we've had so many pitting points that, at a certain point, maybe we do not
have any tipping points.
[15:45:09] We've been saying for two years --
HEYE: -- something's got to give, and nothing has given.
NEWTON: You are so right, Doug. We have been saying it for a while and nothing has given. Stay -- bear with me for a sec here, Doug.
We do have some news coming in from a prominent Republican, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, we have to say, has been the target of some
rebuke from President Trump. And he just talked about the events of Charlottesville without mentioning President Trump by name. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot and in no way can we accept or apologize for racism, bigotry, hatred, violence, and
those kind of things that, too often, arise in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: He did not take aim at his President. You know, he has said that perhaps -- that they are looking into it. The Justice Department has
opened an investigation that perhaps the death of Heather Heyer was a hate crime.
When even someone like Jeff Sessions, who obviously understand this history so well, cannot name him, what does it say?
HEYE: Well, look, the Attorney General is never going to call out the President by name. Somebody who works for the President isn't going to
call him out by name.
Certainly, nobody in Barack Obama's White House or George Bush's or Bill Clinton's White House called out the President by name, unless they've
resigned. So I don't think that should be a big surprise.
I'd like to see more members of Congress speak forcefully, but I'm not going to be upset when people I don't expect to react in a certain way
don't react in that certain way.
NEWTON: But just to challenge you for one moment on that, Doug, when we had the "Access Hollywood" tape, the, at the time, candidate for Vice
President, Mike Pence did call him out. Why is this different?
HEYE: Well, it's different. They work directly for the President right now. They serve under the President. I didn't expect to see Mike Pence
come out against Donald Trump. I wouldn't expect any of the cabinet members to do so.
And, you know, there has been a lot of talk over the past couple days about White House staff resigning en masse or cabinet members resigning en masse.
And I understand that that sentiment, but the reality is, I also want really good, smart people advising this President and especially this
And I think this President needs good, smart advice more than any. And so I'm hesitant to call for people to resign or to quit their job and protest
because I know how important it is for them to be in those jobs.
NEWTON: OK, Doug. So important to get those conservative voices in here. We really appreciate your time. Good to see you.
HEYE: Anytime. Thank you.
NEWTON: And we will be right back with more.
NEWTON: In Sierra Leone, the damage is hard to fathom. More than 300 people confirmed dead, more than 600 still unaccounted for after Monday's
mudslide. Farai Sevenzo has the latest.
FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A disaster so unexpected, so massive, it buried everything in its path. Carrying people and houses
below, more than a mile from where they had been sleeping.
[15:49:56] Now, days later, rescuers search through thick, red mud outside of Sierra Leone's capital city. Hope that anyone survived gone as body
after body is pulled from the mud.
The mortuaries are full, and some of the dead will be buried in mass graves. Desperate families crowd our side, waiting for news of their loved
First, there was war. Then Ebola. And now, disaster has struck again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were many dead (ph). She found -- my sister found water, (INAUDIBLE).
SEVENZO (voice-over): Heavy rains, Monday, caused mud to cascade down Freetown's Sugar Loaf Mountain, turning homes and streets below to rushing
rapids of wet earth and mud, ending hundreds of lives, many of them children. Survivors now rush to register themselves and their little ones
Farai Sevenzo, CNN.
NEWTON: Now, Britain has released its position on one of the most contentious issues of Brexit talks: the Irish border. Now, it says it does
not want to implement border or immigration checks, a move given a cautious welcome by Ireland's Foreign Minister.
Now, the sprawling 500-kilometer long border sees tens of thousands of people cross it every day. Nic Robertson went there to see how the locals
JOHN SHERIDAN, FARMER, NORTHERN IRELAND: You can really take the ridgeline --
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (on camera): Yes.
SHERIDAN: -- as a border. Follow along. Just follow it along.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Where prison meets the E.U.
SHERIDAN: We leave this way through the countryside.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Absolutely.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Yes.
SHERIDAN: Kit (ph), come here.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Northern Irish farmer, John Sheridan, fears Brexit.
SHERIDAN: It's fight for our -- for the farm, for our family, and for our communities. Big time, Nic, big.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): His farm is on the border with the Irish Republic, survives by doing business on both sides. Brexit could mean trade tariffs
and controls could kill profits.
SHERIDAN: We don't have border at the moment, actually. It's invisible. Then we were told by -- we can have a digital border. That's a load of --
that's a load of (INAUDIBLE).
ROBERTSON (voice-over): All along the border, sentiment and worries run deep.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The river there, that's the border. And running right across it, this road. Up there, Northern Ireland. And just down the
road there, the Republic of Ireland. Not a border control in sight, and that's just the way people here want to keep it.
In Belcoo in Northern Ireland, memories of the 30-year conflict and the border controls that came with it still fresh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn't like having to go into customs first and then searched. So we don't want it. We want it as it is now with no
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Just over the river, in the Republic of Ireland, the same fears about Brexit. Leaving border controls could mean big bills.
Peter McVitty runs a haulage company.
PETER MCVITTY, COUNCILOR, CAVAN COUNTY COUNCIL, FINE GAEL: That's going to cost unbelievable money and time. And in the haulage business, time is of
ROBERTSON (voice-over): McVitty is also a counselor for Republic's ruling party. He's frustrated with English politics.
MCVITTY: Yes. The people in the Republic didn't vote for this. This has been heaped on top of us. The people know that Ireland didn't vote for
that, either. It's been heaped on top of them.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): E.U. officials have vowed to minimize the impacts of Brexit on Ireland but have demanded Britain cut a deal that doesn't
impact the fragile peace process in Northern Ireland that balances pro- British and pro-Irish tensions.
Back in the North, farmer Derrick Thornton voted against Brexit, is appalled at political incompetence in London.
DERRICK THORNTON, FARMER, NORTHERN IRELAND: I know we're in it and I the farm's going round, and the (INAUDIBLE) has hit the fan, and it's damn
ROBERTSON (voice-over): His family has farmed here for five generations and sees changes coming that they would have feared.
THORNTON: We're in a very nice part of the world, and to me, a united Ireland, well, I find it decent. And so I'd be in and out four times a day
ROBERTSON (on camera): Really?
THORNTON: -- it wouldn't make any damn difference.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): To John Sheridan, too, Brexit could bring the logic of a united Ireland closer.
SHERIDAN: Would I be better off in a united Ireland? In a hard Brexit situation, absolutely.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): All along this beautiful border, much at stake.
Nic Robertson, CNN, on Europe's land border with Britain, Northern Ireland.
NEWTON: OK. Coming up. We will have more fallout over President Trump's comments at a tense moment in American history.
[15:56:04] NEWTON: All right. We'll have a recap of our top story here. Sources say Donald Trump doesn't regret his Tuesday night comments when the
President placed blame on both neo-Nazis and antiracism activists for the violence in Charlottesville. His words are prompting outrage, including
among late night comedians who ripped up their planned scripts. Here is what some of them had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Before I make a statement, I need the facts.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": OK. I'll wait for the facts, OK? Just ask the millions of illegal voters who refuse
to look for Obama's birth certificate during my record-breaking inauguration --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Many Americans were relieved that at least someone could laugh yesterday. I appreciate you being with us. This has been THE WORLD RIGHT
NOW. Thanks for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.