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What Looking at the Eclipse Could Do to Your Eyes; Wreckage of USS Indianapolis Found After 72 Years; Comedy Legend Jerry Lewis Dead at 91; Stocks Slide Amid White House Turmoil. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired August 20, 2017 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:01:24] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with me. And we begin with a major announcement from the White House.
Tomorrow night, 9:00 Eastern, President Trump will address the nation on the U.S. military's new strategy in Afghanistan. We're told military officials presented the president with a wide range of options, including everything from a surge of troops to a full withdrawal.
Let's go live to CNN's Boris Sanchez. He's in Bridgewater, New Jersey, near the president's golf club where President Trump is spending the weekend.
Boris, what do we know now about the deliberations leading up to this decision?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. This is something that the White House has been working on for several months. A lot of options on the table for the president here. He tweeted about there being a final decision yesterday, actually, saying that some important decisions were made after a series of meetings at Camp David with top military brass.
The options on the table are wide. First, we could see a potential troop surge as supported by some Republican senators including John McCain. We could potentially see a complete withdrawal of troops or even possibly a shifting of responsibilities from the U.S. military to some private organizations. That's an idea that was actually fought for by the former chief strategist at the White House Steve Bannon.
We get a chance to hear from Secretary of Defense James Mattis about this earlier today. He was asked what the ultimate strategy was going to be moving forward in Afghanistan. He didn't want to reveal too much saying instead that he wanted to allow the president to explain his decision to the American people himself.
Here's more from the secretary of Defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I was not willing to make significant troop lifts until we made certain what was the strategy, what was the commitment going in. In that regard, the president has made a decision, as he said. He wants to be the one to announce it to the American people. So I'll stand silent until then -- until that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Something I also wanted to point out that Secretary Mattis said, Ana, was that he referred to this not just as an Afghanistan strategy but a full South Asia strategy. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see exactly what the president means.
To give you some context, this is the longest war in American history starting in fall 2001. It was in 2014 that then President Obama declared an end to combat operations there. Fast-forward to February of this year, 2017 when the commander of troops in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, said that American and Afghan troops had essentially reached a stalemate with the Taliban.
So there's a lot of questions about exactly how the United States will move forward in this long war that has cost quite a few lives -- Ana.
CABRERA: Right. And so many lives on the line and fortunately we're seeing Americans lose their lives as recent as this week.
Boris Sanchez, thank you.
And as we await the president's announcement we can tell you his decision came as the president met with his National Security team at Camp David on Friday.
Global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is joining us now to discuss more about the president's plans as he lays out his strategy tomorrow night.
Elise, how likely is this going to be a departure from what is happening in Afghanistan right now?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Ana, I'm not expecting a major departure from the strategy you have right now. What we're hearing is the kind of what most people in the military will call modest bump in troops which is somewhere maybe between 3,000 to 5,000 troops to just really help the Afghan National Forces kind of continue to make their way and break that stalemate with the Taliban.
[18:05:09] I mean, some of the options that are out there that Boris discussed, such as the complete withdrawal, which some people are arguing for, saying that if you don't fully withdraw the Afghan forces are never going to be able to, you know, pull them up -- themselves up by their bootstraps and handled the job, to a kind of huge bump in troops, to using mercenaries.
I think that you're probably going to see the U.S., you know, stay in the game, try to help the Afghan forces get as strong as they can but not -- you know, the president campaigned on not having a lot of international entanglements. So I think the U.S. wants to stay committed in Afghanistan. Defense Secretary Mattis, General Nicholson, the commander of U.S.
forces there, and the president's other advisers do want to, you know, kind of stay and have a U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, but it needs to also be seen as a fuller strategy in South Asia. And that means how do you increase pressure on Pakistan to stop providing safe haven for the Taliban and other groups? How does that fit into U.S. policy towards India? And how does some of the other countries like China, Russia, Iran -- how do they fit in to deal with Afghanistan?
So I think you'll see the U.S. staying in with a -- you know, pretty consistent with what we've had. Maybe a modest bump. But now take a look at some of the larger questions, such as governance, such as the region itself.
CABRERA: And I wonder the impact now that Steve Bannon is gone? We had heard the reports that he was butting heads with other members of the Trump administration over what to do in Afghanistan specifically. What do you think is the impact of his absence now when it comes to Trump foreign policy and what we learned of his doctrine?
LABOTT: Well, specifically on Afghanistan, Steve Bannon was in favor of that proposal by the former CEO of Blackwater, Eric Prince, to kind of use mercenaries, you know, hired guns to fight in Afghanistan. I don't think you're going to see Defense Secretary Mattis or any of the top military brass supporting something like that. But what Steve Bannon was doing was supporting, you know, the president's kind of nationalist America first agenda, which is not seeing so many international entanglements around the world.
Now Steve Bannon had a very extreme view of that. You know, he was anti-European Union. He was anti-NATO. I think some of the president's advisers that he has now, like H.R. McMaster, like Secretary Tillerson, like Defense Secretary Mattis and then there's Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, I think, you know, some people in the White House that are more nationalists and also Trump supporters call them globalists, I would say that they're more in favor of a strong U.S. engagement in the world.
So I think you're going to see President Trump now that Steve Bannon is gone maybe gravitate towards a more mainstream and traditional conservative view of what foreign policy means which is a strong America leading, but maybe not with as many kind of, you know, military and troop commitments.
CABRERA: Quickly before you go. I know it's a big week. When it comes to North Korea this week, Defense Secretary Mattis also discussing North Korea this morning. A new threat from that country coming just hours before the joint military drills that are now under way between the U.S. and South Korea. What's the latest?
LABOTT: Well, North Korea said that was just pouring gasoline on the fire and has made some threats about what it might do in response. Interestingly enough, you know, they're not the kind of specific threats that you saw against Guam last week. They're more of the kind of traditional North Korean rhetoric. There's always this kind of rhetoric when those exercises start. I
think perhaps we could see some kind of provocation from North Korea. Maybe a missile test of some sort, but I think that, you know, the atmosphere is so charged, I don't know that we'll see a nuclear test, but Defense Secretary Mattis was pretty clear today when he said these are -- you know, these exercises are going ahead.
The North Koreans know that they're defensive. And, you know, stopping them is a non-starter. The Russians and Chinese have been fighting for the U.S. to stop in a diplomatic overture. But I think now that we've seen them go, I think you could see a period of a lot more rhetoric and some provocation from North Korea.
CABRERA: And these are annual exercises we should note.
Elise Labott, thanks so much for joining us. Good to see you, my friend.
Ahead this hour, do the right thing. That's the message from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's classmates at Yale in the wake of Charlottesville. How Mnuchin is responding to calls for him to step down.
Plus, comedy pioneer. How Hollywood is remembering the life and legacy of actor and comedian Jerry Lewis.
And later, remarkable discovery. The USS Indianapolis was finally found more than 70 years after being sunk by a Japanese torpedo. We'll talk to the man who helped locate this long lost warship.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says he is sticking with President Trump despite nearly 300 of his former classmates at Yale cosigning a letter calling for him to resign over President Trump's response to Charlottesville.
Now the letter in part reads, "President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor of Americans, as men and women of Yale and as decent human beings. President Trump made those declarations loudly, clearly, and unequivocally, and he said them as you stood next to him. We call upon you as our friend, our classmate and as a fellow American to resign in protest to President Trump's support of Nazism and white supremacy. We know you are better than this. We are counting on you to do the right thing."
Now Mnuchin responded yesterday in part, writing, "I don't believe the allegations against the president are accurate and I believe that having highly talented men and women in our country surrounding the president and his administration should be reassuring to you and all the American people." [18:15:11] So let me bring in the CEO and national director of the
Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt.
Jonathan, thanks for being with us. Would you like to see people like Steve Mnuchin resign?
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Look, it is really quite a sad day when our Treasury secretary, instead of talking about macroeconomic issues or exchange rates has to talk about Nazis marching through a major American city. I mean, what's really a problem is that our president has shown such a lack of moral leadership, that his -- the secretary of the Treasury and other aides, Jewish or not, are being forced to ask themselves, do I belong here? Can I serve? Where is my moral compass?
Look, at the ADL we've been tracking hate over 100 years. We knew that march in Charlottesville, all the experts did, was going to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in more than a decade, we knew it was going to be violent. Our hearts break for Heather Heyer and her family.
What we didn't know is that the president would fail again and again and again to clearly stand with the rest of America and instead try to equivocate between white supremacists and neo-Nazis and the rest of us. That's really the issue.
CABRERA: So if you feel that strongly, what do you think is the solution to maybe, one, holding the president accountable for his words, and, two, making some kind of progress?
GREENBLATT: Yes. Well, I think first and foremost we've got to keep the pressure on. I think it's really important to push the president not only to call this out, but to take action. It's stunning to me that even in his comments on Monday, before he went off the rails on Tuesday, he didn't have a plan of action about how do we deal with hate?
Now here's the good news, I'd say. We can't wait. And so the ADL we can't wait. So we literally announced on Friday a partnership with over 250 mayors, Republicans and Democrats, big cities and little cities, who signed the Mayor's Pact, a new initiative between the ADL and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
CABRERA: To do what?
GREENBLATT: To help cities respond, prepare proactively to white supremacist marches. In fact Mayor Walsh in Boston is one of our signatories and that helped him prepare and be ready for the march that happened yesterday in Boston.
CABRERA: Do you agree with some of the people who argue if you're part of this administration, the right move would not be to resign if you are upset with the president's comments, if you reject what he said. Instead being part of his team can help to influence his action moving forward, influence policy and so forth? GREENBLATT: Look, I think it's hard for me to judge Jewish staffers
or non-Jewish staffer and how they make their decisions. I think they've got to wake up in the morning and say, does this map to my moral compass? Can I feel comfortable with these values? And I would say from the ADL's point of view, that the values the president espoused on Tuesday are not American values.
We believe in pluralism, we believe in tolerance, we believe in respect, and to suggest that there were fine people among the neo- Nazis who marched in those streets saying blood and soil, saying Jews will not replace us, I'll tell you what, Jews and other people, we will replace them, we will replace their indecency with decency, we'll replace their inhumanity with humanity.
CABRERA: That video is a punch in the gut for anybody who watched that. I could not believe my eyes.
I want to ask you about Boston because you bought that up.
CABRERA: Yesterday we witnessed some 40,000 people taking to the streets, and 99.9 percent of them according to the police commissioner were there for the right reasons. Fighting hatred and bigotry. The president was tweeting during this protest. And here's what he first tweeted out. This is his first tweet.
"Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking smart and tough. Thank you." And then a little bit later, I believe it was actually during the press conference or just after the press conference, he writes, "I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one."
That last tweet, do you see him turning the conversation? Are we making progress?
GREENBLATT: Well, I'm glad he's catching on because guess what? The country is coming together. You had former presidents, Republicans and Democrats, you have members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, members of the clergy, members of the business community, even members of the Armed Forces, everyone has stood together in unanimity against the values of white supremacy, and for the values of pluralism and justice.
That's the real face of America. So I think it's a good thing if the president comes around to it. We at the ADL and other groups, we will keep pushing and fighting on the front lines against hate and extremism.
CABRERA: All right. Jonathan Greenblatt, thank you very much for sharing with us tonight.
GREENBLATT: Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, new details about a bizarre sonic weapon attack in Cuba that hurt a number of U.S. and Canadian diplomats. We'll tell you what CNN is just learning about who else could be affected.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[18:24:12] CABRERA: American officials tell CNN today more about that mysterious acoustic attack in Cuba that hurt a number of U.S. and Canadian diplomats some of them very seriously. Today we're now learning more people were attacked than initially thought. It started last fall. More than 10 U.S. diplomats and family members got sick in Cuba. Hearing loss, severe headaches, nausea.
It's believed a high-tech weapon was used to blast sound that human ears can't even pick up. But they are capable of causing medical problems and U.S. officials now say more people were exposed to this mystery weapon than initially thought.
The Cuban government denies any involvement. The FBI and Canadian Mounties are investigating.
Elsewhere overseas today, officials in Spain named another victim of last week's horrific terror attack in Barcelona. He is a little boy, just 7 years old, he died. His mother was badly injured.
[18:25:03] He's one of 14 people who have died after terrorists drove speeding vehicles into crowds of people first in Barcelona and then a town about an hour north.
I want to talk to our national security analyst and former Homeland Security assistant secretary Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, in this famed terror attack, 12 suspects so far, unidentified one of them, still on the run. We know they killed people with something as ordinary as a car or a van. We saw it in Nice, in London, in Charlottesville, Virginia, now in Spain.
How can people be protected from these low-tech attacks, other than barricading tourist attractions or large pedestrian areas or major gatherings? What can be done?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think we have to accept a level of vulnerability at any of these major events, but there is more that can be done. You're starting to see from city to city, depending on what the event is. For known events, like a concert or as we saw in Boston yesterday a big event, you can put up mobile barriers to protect areas from something as simple as a car or a van being used as a weapon of mass destruction.
But I think you're going to see in a lot of European cities now, you're starting to see it a little bit, is in these promenades begin to protect them from cars. It doesn't disrupt the festivities that go on in these cities which is what you want to maintain. But obviously protects them from at least the kind of tactics that are being used right now by as you said any number of terrorist groups.
CABRERA: How surprising is it, we learned, that this terror cell in Spain, not one of the 12 people who had been identified were on any kind of watch list or on the radar of local and officials in that country?
KAYYEM: It's pretty surprising. Spain is not perfect. No country is perfect. I mean, to put it that way. In terms of their counterterrorism efforts but as you've seen throughout any of these events, there's always some sort of ping, right, someone who was known, someone has done something else illegal that put them into the orbit of law enforcement or intelligence agencies.
And so these guys sort of came out of nowhere. And that is obviously very, very disturbing and distressing. Not just, of course, for Spain but for Europol or for any other investigatory body at this stage.
I think what it means is that the -- what we call the runway to radicalization, the period of time it takes from someone to being sort of normal as you would say to being someone who would launch an attack is so short it is becoming almost impossible to be able to prevent any number of these attacks.
The number of people involved is also surprising because normally when you have any more than two or three people, you know, conspiracies, the larger they get, the easier it is to disrupt because someone talks, makes a mistake, arrested, we did not see this in this -- at least this one case.
CABRERA: I'm wondering how you can take that and apply it to what happened in Charlottesville and the threat of violent extremists among these white nationalists, KKK members, neo-Nazis who we saw rallying last weekend and ultimately causing the death of one woman? How widespread is that threat today and we've learned the recruitment is often happening online. And so I'm curious about how perhaps social media might play a role in preventing the recruitment?
KAYYEM: It can and you're starting to see some of these social media platforms get a lot more serious. Perhaps not serious enough, about ending at least the individual or personal accounts of some of these folks, the white supremacists, or a way in which they are gaining traction with each other. And what we're seeing, the similarities between white supremacist and ISIS is the use of social media not simply to radicalize but to actually organize.
That is something that -- you know, in the United States is going to take a serious -- needs to be taken more seriously by places like Facebook, Twitter and others that have too often allowed this stuff to fester until after something happens and then they're willing to bring it down.
Obviously, you bump up against First Amendment rights. But in some of these instances these guys are clearly planning violent attacks. The First Amendment protections at least from a business perspective seem to be minimal if you are one of these social media platforms.
CABRERA: Real quick, I want to ask you about Steve Bannon because he know is out of the White House. Obviously either his choice or not. But he had a security clearance. The highest security clearance. Full access to the White House, the intelligence, the national security information. Should people be concerned about what he can do with what he knows? Because he even alluded to it in his comments with the "Weekly Standard" saying, with what I know, something along the lines of the gloves are off.
KAYYEM: Right. He's still subject to the rules and standards and laws that apply to anyone who have classified information. If there is any known or suspicion about a leak including things that might appear on Breitbart or through the rumor mill, everyone should be looking to see Bannon, to see whether he's the one.
Look, normally -- look, I'll tell you, I was just a lowly assistant secretary. Normally you have an exit interview. You have to give up your files, you have to hand in your key. You get escorted out of the agency. You're not, you know, and so the normal processes appear not to have happened with Steve Bannon, given the oddness of his departure on Friday.
Look, he hasn't done anything wrong yet. But we should be looking at what's disclosed or leaked, especially through his media platforms, to determine whether he might not, after all of this, be the one who is leaking information that he either knows or took out of the White House since we have no idea what his exit, you know, process was.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Juliette Kayyem, thank you, as always. We appreciate your time.
Coming up, for the first time in 99 years, Americans can see a total eclipse from coast to coast. Next, the dire warning from our Dr. Sanjay Gupta on keeping your eyes safe. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[18:35:23] CABRERA: In case you haven't heard, tomorrow, for the first time this century, Americans in the path from coast to coast will be able to see a total solar eclipse.
Now, if you are one of the millions to plan to head out and stare at the sun, you want to make sure you have the right protection. Here's CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the most important thing I can say about this, which, hopefully, you've already heard, all of you, is don't look at the sun with your naked eye. It's really important advice.
I mean, your eyes can be severely damaged. And people say you could go blind from that. That's true, you could go blind.
What happens is, the powerful brightness of the sun can cause damage to the very back of your eye known as the retina. The intensity of the light, in combination with that focus on the back of your eye, can actually burn it or cook it. And as you might guess, that can lead to decreased vision or even blindness, which would be permanent. I don't want to belabor this point or scare people, but even a glimpse
of the sun -- say you decided you wanted to look at the sun before it completely became hidden behind the moon, well, even that glimpse is too much. And because you may not feel any pain, you won't know that you're retina is actually becoming damaged or too hot.
Your best bet in all this is to get a pair of these glasses. Very fashionable, I know. Your sunglasses aren't going to do the trick. No matter how fancy, how expensive, or how polarized, you need to get eclipse glasses like this, in part because they have a safety standard.
The most important feature, which is the filter, obviously. And that's going to reduce the sun's brightness to a safe and comfortable level. It's going to be sort of like looking at a full moon instead. It also blocks ultraviolet and infrared radiation, so, you know, a really good bet to get one of these pairs of glasses.
Now, remember this for yourself. And also, especially remember this if you're going to watch with your kids. Kids may forget. Keep an eye on your children. Make sure they keep their glasses on at all times.
The only time you can look at the sun with your naked eye is when you're in the path of totality. That's the time when the sun is going to be completely covered by the moon.
I would suggest to you, take some time to listen then as well because the Earth is not only going to grow darker, but also quieter as wildlife becomes really, really still.
CABRERA: So cool. Dr. Sanjay, thank you. Don't forget, you can find everything you need to know about tomorrow's eclipse of the century at cnn.com/eclipse.
Now, a startling announcement this weekend from the United States Navy. Confirmation that the wreck of a warship found by a civilian search team is that of the USS Indianapolis. This is a ship with enormous historical importance to the U.S. military and, really, to our country.
What happened to her 72 years ago is one of the most tragic chapters of American naval history. But the name of the ship, Indianapolis, might sound familiar to you from that breathtaking story told by the Robert Shaw character, Quint, in the classic film "Jaws."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT SHAW, ACTOR: On Thursday morning, Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson, from Cleveland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It was a real life, terrible event. Indianapolis was torpedoed. And for the sailors who survived the sinking, their horror was only beginning. We're going live now to the middle of the Philippines Sea where this
amazing discovery happened. Robert Kraft is the subsea operations director on the mission that located the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis.
Robert, before we talk about how you found the wreck, tell me how you see this. How huge of a moment is this for military history?
ROBERT KRAFT, DIRECTOR OF SUBSEA OPERATIONS, VULCAN, INC.: Yes, it was an incredible and amazing discovery. I mean, it is big. It's one of the catastrophes that never should have happened, so it's enormous.
CABRERA: That ship is resting more than 18,000 feet below the surface. That is much deeper than Titanic's final resting place. So, in basic terms, how did you do it?
KRAFT: You know, the biggest challenge here is the depth of water, and it takes some extraordinary technology to get down that deep. And it's an investigative process, and it takes a long time and very -- you've got to be very patient to deploy the vehicles, gather the data, bring it back, analyze it, and continue on.
CABRERA: Now, did you have a sense of where this ship was? How long were you searching for it? And what was your reaction when you saw it?
KRAFT: Yes, we did. We did, you know, several months' worth of research. We've collaborated with, you know, the Naval History and Heritage Command and those folks there. So we had a good sense through the process that we went through to understand where the ship may be.
[18:40:09] You know, upon the discovery, it was a very thrilling, exciting moment here in the control room, and I know that Paul was very excited. And it was elation here in the control room.
CABRERA: Did you know it when you saw it?
KRAFT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the 35, the insignia on the hull, was the unique identifier. There are several ways to identify a ship, but that one was -- unequivocally, it was -- we knew exactly what we had as soon as we saw that.
CABRERA: Why was this mission so important to you personally? And I mean, obviously, it's been 72 years, so explain why it was so important to find the ship.
KRAFT: I'm sorry, Ana. You broke up. Can you repeat the question?
CABRERA: Sure. I know we might have some technical issues, given you are in the middle of the Philippine Sea, but I'm just wondering.
KRAFT: We do.
CABRERA: It has been 72 years. This mission to find the ship still lived on. Why was it so important to find it? KRAFT: You know, I think Paul is -- he's dedicated to preserving our
past and honoring the lost sailors, and also remembering the service of his father to our country. And so it was really a part of that process, and also sharing the information with the world.
CABRERA: What happens next to the ship?
KRAFT: Nothing will happen with the ship. We will continue our mission here to survey the debris field and get a good understanding of how the wreck lies and its condition, which we'll provide that information to the History and Heritage Command and also bring archeologists for them study for years to come.
CABRERA: What an amazing discovery. Thank you so much for taking a break from your work and talking with us. Robert Kraft, great to have you on.
Still to come, Hollywood loses a legend. Jerry Lewis, dead at the age of 91. Next, the impact he had on the world of comedy. You're live in the CNN newsroom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[18:46:56] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stanley! On the double!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This is a scene from the 1960 film, "The Bellboy," starring the late, great, Jerry Lewis. The comedy legend died early this morning at the age of 91, remembered for his rubber face, squeaky voice routines. He shot to fame as part of a double act with crooner Dean Martin and later starred in films, including "The Nutty Professors" and the "King of Comedy."
I want to bring in Kliph Nesteroff, a former stand-up comedian and comedy historian who is featured in tonight's episode of "THE HISTORY OF COMEDY."
Kliph, you can't talk about the history of comedy without talking about Jerry Lewis. Give us a sense of the impact he had.
KLIPH NESTEROFF, AUTHOR, "THE COMEDIANS: DRUNKS, THIEVES, SCOUNDRELS, AND THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN COMEDY": Well, Jerry Lewis, in the late '40s and throughout the 1950s, was probably the most famous comedian in the world. Maybe the most popular in his comedy team, Martin and Lewis.
Martin and Lewis were the closest thing comedy ever had to Beatle mania. There are famous newsreel images of them playing The Paramount and girls screaming, clutching at their clothes, them peeking out the window of their hotel room and throwing headshots down to the street.
They were a bonanza. They were among the first major comedians in television. They were huge stars with "The Colgate Comedy Hour." They were major headliners in big nightclubs across the country, the Copacabana in New York, the Chez Paree in Chicago.
And as movie stars, both together and then later individually, they had a tremendous impact on show business. And a lot of people who are younger probably don't realize that because, essentially, Jerry Lewis -- and I don't mean this necessarily in a bad way, but he sort of peaked around 1964, '65. And after that, things went to his head a little bit.
He had done so many flat falls over the years that he had a back injury, a spinal injury, and took painkillers to take care of it. And because of that, he relied on painkillers in the late '60s and throughout the '70s and sort of clouded his judgment.
So you'll notice a marked shift in his movies in the late '60s as opposed to the early '60s when he wasn't on that painkiller, Percocet. So very interesting trajectory, but the career of Jerry Lewis sort of mirrors the span of America in the midcentury.
CABRERA: And, of course, we can't forget the impact he had with his work with the telethons for muscular dystrophy earning over $2.5 million, raising that much money for the cause.
Let me talk to you now about the tonight's episode of "HISTORY OF COMEDY." It explores how comedians have really pushed the boundaries in terms of taboo language and subject matter. Let's take a quick look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, ladies and gentlemen, here is the very shocking comedian, the most shocking comedian of our time, the young man who is skyrocketing to fame, Lenny Bruce!
LENNY BRUCE, COMEDIAN: So you might be interested in how I became offensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that time, there were laws on the book around obscenity. You couldn't say (INAUDIBLE). You couldn't say (INAUDIBLE). You couldn't say (INAUDIBLE). I mean, can you imagine that?
BRUCE: I'd like to, perhaps, give you a four-letter word that's start with an S and ends with a T.
[18:50:08] BRUCE: First time in television. I'm not going to look at you when I say this because this way, I can't get busted. You don't know who said it. The band said it.
BRUCE: Starts with an S and it ends with a T and the word is snot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I kind of love all the bleeping that was in that clip, right. Well, that was Lenny Bruce. There's also George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can't Say on T.V." Why is being inappropriate such a big part of comedy?
NESTEROFF: Well, I don't know. It's more about being honest rather than inappropriate. So a comedian who speaks that way off stage is most likely to speak that way on stage, you know. It's just a reflection of their own personality.
We lost another major comedian yesterday, Dick Gregory, who spoke honestly about politics on stage. And he was really the first Black comedian to sort of shatter the color line in comedy. Prior to 1961, White comedians played one circuit and Black comedians played another. Black comedians could only address a Black audience in those days.
Dick Gregory came along, was hired as an emergency fill-in at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1961, became the first Black comedian not only to address a White audience, but to talk about civil rights issues on stage through his comedy, through his jokes. And for that reason, was extremely influential.
And when we talk about Dick Gregory and when we talk about Jerry Lewis, consider this. Dick Gregory was the number one nightclub comedian of 1961. Jerry Lewis was the number one screen comedian in movies in 1961. And both of them were extremely influential.
And if you combined Jerry Lewis and combined Dick Gregory, you get a man who was influenced by both of them, a man who is now considered the greatest comedian of all time, Richard Pryor.
NESTEROFF: Richard Pryor might surprise some people, but he said that Jerry Lewis was one of his biggest influences early on. The first time he saw a comedy film was "Sailor Beware," and a Martin and Lewis picture from the early '50s. And Richard Pryor started to mimic Jerry Lewis.
And so when you watch very early Richard Pryor, you see him on stage, black and white footage, the skinny suit, and he's doing physical comedy. He's mugging to the camera. He's doing a great shtick that is inspired by Jerry Lewis.
And then likewise, after Dick Gregory started talking about the plight of being Black in America, talking about racism, you eventually saw Richard Pryor tackling the same types of topics, talking about racism in America.
So you combine the influence of Dick Gregory with the influence of Jerry Lewis, like I say, the two biggest comedy stars of 1961, and you get Richard Pryor. So their influence cannot be overstated in the history of comedy. CABRERA: And we are honoring both of their legacies this weekend as
they both have passed away. I'm so glad you brought up Dick Gregory. I was going to ask you about him as well. That's why we had those clips of him also ready to go.
Kliph Nesteroff, thanks, as always, for joining us and sharing your insight and expertise. And don't miss the brand-new episode of CNN's "HISTORY OF COMEDY" tonight at 10:00 Eastern. We're back in just a moment.
[18:57:24] CABRERA: The turmoil in the Trump White House is not going unnoticed on Wall Street. CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans brings us your "Before the Bell Report." Christine?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. A stock market riding high knocked down by worries this President is now so isolated his economic agenda is in peril.
The worst day for stocks in three months last week after business leaders broke ties with the pro-business president. An exodus from his blue ribbon business advisory panels after he blamed, quote, both sides for the violence in Charlottesville.
This breakup could risk his economic agenda. Corporate America, a powerful ally in the quest for tax reform, concerned as well he could lose support inside the White House. Stocks fell when rumors surfaced that Gary Cohn, Trump's economic adviser, would resign.
Ana, this week marks the end of earnings season. Retailers Lowe's, Staples, and Sears all report it's been a rough season for brick and mortar as more shoppers go online, especially department stores.
The Federal Reserve's Annual Jackson Hole Conference begins Thursday. The head of both the U.S. and E.U. central banks will speak. Watch if Fed Chief Janet Yellen says anything about future policy, especially interest rate hikes.
The Fed's July minutes showed officials are split over whether to boost rates again this year. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
CABRERA: Thanks, Christine. While the eclipse is still a day away, one could argue we have been experiencing this phenomenon for more than a year now. Here's Jake Tapper with this week's "State of the Cartoonian."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): As the sunrises and a new week begins, it occurs to us, there's been a lot of news on the horizon that perhaps hasn't gotten the light it deserved.
A Republican congressman, Dana Rohrabacher, met with fugitive WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
NASA launched its newest communications satellite hoping to relay data from the Hubble and other spacecraft.
The Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, strongly criticized Chicago's sanctuary city policy, saying the rule of law has broken down.
And Kim Kardashian revealed President Obama was her partner the one and only time she did karaoke.
KIM KARDASHIAN, CELEBRITY: It was so cool. It was like Obama --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
KARDASHIAN: -- Kanye and, like, maybe 15 people.
TAPPER (voice-over): And now, we're just hours away from another huge news event. The first solar eclipse visible coast to coast in the United States since 1918.
You're forgiven if you've missed one or all of these stories. Something else has been eclipsing other news quite often.
[18:59:58] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. You have to see what's outside, you wouldn't even believe it.
CABRERA: Seven o'clock Eastern, 4:00 in the afternoon out West.