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Democrats Draft Legislation to Protect Mueller After Trump Tried to Fire; Will Democrats Support Trump DACA Deal or Shutdown Government; VAN JONES SHOW" Premieres Tonight with Guest Jay-Z & Visits Charlottesville. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 27, 2018 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Breaking news tonight, a sexual misconduct scandal in Las Vegas sending shockwaves into the top levels of the Republican Party. A billionaire friend of the president is at the center of it all.
Steve Wynn, the powerful Vegas casino and hotel boss. We now have confirmation that he has stepped down from his position running the finances for the Republican National Committee. He's out.
And here's why. The "Wall Street Journal" publishing allegations that some of his casino and resort employees were pressured to perform sex acts. Dozens of people describe the pattern of sexual abuse and harassment around Steve Wynn going back decades.
Our White House correspondent, Boris Sanchez. Boris, Wynn is the man the president has called, quote, "a great friend." What is the reaction to these developments from the White House?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana. On background, a White House official tells CNN that the president supported Wynn's resignation in order to limit political damage to not only the Republican Party but also to the White House. There were some questions about how the president would respond to this.
Not only because he and Wynn have known each other for 34 years. President Trump hand-picked Steve Wynn to be the finance chair at the RNC, but also because historically, this White House has been inconsistent when it comes to answering questions about sexual assault allegations.
Just a few months ago, you had the White House simultaneously demand the resignation of former Senator Al franken while backing Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore. In this instance, the president clearly distancing himself from Steve Wynn in light of these allegations. We should note, we don't have an official response from the White House yet.
CABRERA: And Boris, the White House also dealing, of course, this weekend with those reports about Special Counsel Robert Mueller, that the president tried to have him fired and was talked out about it. The president is now calling it fake news. How are others in Washington reacting?
SANCHEZ: Well, we got a statement from a White House Attorney Ty Cobb. I want to put it on your screen now because it's noteworthy for a multitude of reasons. Here's the statement, quote, "We decline to comment out of respect for the office of special counsel and its process."
For one, there's no denial there that President Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller as there was in a previous statement when asked in August about a potential firing of Robert Mueller, Ty Cobb then said, quote, "That's never been on the table. Never. It's a manifestation of the media."
In light of that reporting by "The New York Times" that CNN has matched, some Democrats have renewed a push to pass legislation that would protect the special counsel. One congressional Democratic aide telling me that the plan is to bring the idea to the table during budget talks and potentially present some proposals.
You had a multitude of senators calling for this kind of legislation, including Senator Chuck Schumer who said in a statement that this is the most important thing for Congress to do right now. You also had Senator Mark Warner pushing this idea. Here's more of what Warner said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MARK WARNER (D-VA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE VICE CHAIRMAN: I think if the president had gone through with this or tries to go through with it on a going forward basis, we're into unchartered territory and the real question of fundamentals of our democracy. Are we still going to be a country where rule of law prevails and that no one, even the president, is above the law?
My hope will become next week that Congress will take up bipartisan legislation that was around last year that would protect the special prosecutor from these kinds of arbitrary actions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Ana, Democrats are going to need Republicans to pass any bill of this sort. I asked a Republican operative that's close to the leadership what the chances of them bringing this to the floor might be. He said it is unlikely, in part because it exposes divisions within the Republican Party while two of these bills that would protect Robert Mueller have Republican co-sponsors, others like Senator Mitch McConnell --
CABRERA: Boris, we have breaking news and we're going live to Kentucky. This is a press conference regarding a school shooting earlier this week.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the biggest heart. Our faith is getting us through, and god is giving us the strength right now.
(SCHOOL SHOOTING PRESS CONFERENCE) [17:14:52]
CABRERA: You have been listening to a press conference with family members and friends of two high schoolers who were killed earlier this week when a classmate of theirs opened fire inside their high school in Kentucky, in Benton, Kentucky.
[17:15:04] You're looking at picture offs the two 15-year-old victims. There's Bailey there on the left, Bailey Holt, and Preston Cope there on the right. Bailey died inside the school. Preston Cope was taken to the hospital where he passed away. A total of 16 people were shot.
So more than a dozen of people were injured and hospitalized. Authorities still are not identifying the 15-year-old suspect, but he is under arrest, awaiting his next court appearance. Detained. He did face a judge on Thursday. He is facing currently two counts of murder and 12 counts of first degree assault.
Again, this shooting happened on Tuesday. Not a lot has been revealed in the investigation, again, because it involves a juvenile suspect. But what we're learning now about the victims, as we paint a greater picture of their lives from the family members who just spoke.
We heard about Bailey. She was very kind, simple, somebody who was easy to love. Salt to the earth is how her aunt described her. She talked about her being a die-hard Louisville fan, often wearing a sweatshirt to cheer on the team.
We also heard from Jackie Reid, who is the principal at Sharp Elementary where Preston Cope's mom is a teacher, and she talked about Preston being somebody who enjoyed the outdoors, who loved baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals in particular, who was interested in history, loved his family.
Again, two 15-year-olds their lives simply cut too short. At the time there in that shooting that happened earlier this week in Benton, Kentucky. Our Kaylee Hartung was there at the press conference and is joining us now. Kaylee, you've spent some time in the community there. How are they processing this?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, you heard both Jackie and Tracy through that press conference reference how tight knit the community is and how much the families of Bailey and Preston have appreciated the support that they have felt throughout this community and extending much farther across this country.
I spoke with a couple students from the high school this morning and something that they shared with me was just the mix of emotions they are feeling today in particular. As the visitation is being held at the high school, as we speak.
The two women you just heard speak here now on their way to the high school, just about 500 yards down the road, to participate in that event. But students telling me that the gymnasium where the visitation is being held is the place -- they have so many carefree, joyful memories in there throughout their high school experiences, like basketball games and pep rallies, and of course, they want to honor Preston and Bailey.
But they are having a hard time processing the idea of celebrating their lives and memorializing them in a space that they're very unfamiliar with having those type of emotions in. Emotions still very raw, as people here try to return to a sense of normalcy, but for the Holt and Cope families, there will be a new normal.
CABRERA: Such a sad story. Kaylee, what do we know about what happened?
HARTUNG: Well, Ana, investigators aren't sharing much with us because that 15-year-old male suspect, a student from Marshall County High School, is a juvenile and is being charged as such currently.
I'm told that we shouldn't expect any confirmation from officials until a grand jury meets on February 13th, where prosecutors say they do plan to ask that the suspect be charged as an adult.
But until then, it's hard to nail down details of that investigation other than accounts we have heard from eyewitnesses that day. It was around 7:57 a.m. on Tuesday when shots first rang out.
Students, I'm told, were gathering in the common area of Marshall County High School on Tuesday morning, as they do before classes and assembly begins. It was then that this student pulled out a handgun and began firing upon his classmates.
This is a high school of about 1,500 students. Yes, this is a small community, but a rather large high school within it. So, in that moment, in such a large space where students are congregating early in the morning, they began running.
Some dropping their belongings in place and fleeing for their lives from this common area. To do that, I haven't been able to get onto the school's campus, but from a distance, you're able to see the common area.
Sort of within a courtyard, if you will. You have to run through doors. We have heard stories of hundreds of kids pouring out of the glass doors, where otherwise buses would be pulling up to drop off students.
One young woman told me a story of how she had just pulled up thinking she was late for school, had just gotten out of her car when she heard the shots and saw all of the students running towards her. She was able to jump back in her car and safely get away from campus.
[17:20:04] But just a scene of tremendous chaos that is truly unimaginable for high school students or adults, for that matter, to experience.
CABRERA: Kaylee Hartung, thank you for that. We'll be right back.
CABRERA: We know Robert Mueller is looking into obstruction of justice. Here's some of the president's actions he may be considering. It's a long list, so bear with me here. You'll recall the former FBI Director James Comey testified that the president asked him for loyalty back in January of last year.
Well, a month later, Comey says the president asked him to, quote, "see his way clear of investigating former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. When Comey didn't stop his investigation, "The Washington Post" claims the president turned to his top intelligence officials and asked them if they could stop Comey from investigating Flynn. That was in March.
[17:25:04] Well, two months later, the president fired FBI Director James Comey. He went on to brag about it to top Russian officials saying it, quote, "relieved great pressure." We now know that in June, just one month later, the president tried to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller but backed off after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign.
In the months that followed, the president began pressuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions to clean house at the FBI. The new FBI director, Christopher Wray, threatened to resign over that.
Meanwhile, in addition to all of this going on behind the scenes, the president has continued to publicly attack the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the intelligence community. So, one of the questions now, does this list add up to obstruction of justice? The president says it doesn't.
Earlier this week, he gave an impromptu press conference and he appeared to address some of these actions. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Now they're saying oh, well, did he fight back? If you fight back, is that obstruction. You fight back. John, you fight back. Oh, it's obstruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Earlier, I talked about the president's remarks with John Dean. He is the former White House counsel who flipped on President Richard Nixon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The words fight back are not words you want to use in front of a grand jury or a prosecutor because as a potential target or as a defendant, or as somebody under investigation, fighting back can really mean obstruction.
What you have to do is respond to the process. It is not the same as being in a courtroom. It is not the same as being on the street fighting. You're not allowed to do anything to disrupt the criminal justice process. Otherwise, you're involved in obstruction of justice. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: A lot more to discuss, with us, CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, CNN legal analyst, Page Pate, and director for the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato.
So, Page, moments ago, we just heard from John Dean there saying that Trump's use of the phrase fight back may be a poor word choice. Do you agree?
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it is more than that, Ana. In fact, I think it is evidence of obstruction of justice. All of the things you put up on the screen, the things President Trump has done during the course of this investigation, they're all legal steps that a president can take.
I mean, he can remove the FBI director. He can criticize the FBI. He can do all of those things as president so long as the reason for doing them is not under a corrupt intent. He's not trying to protect himself.
But when he comes out and publicly says this is my attempt to fight back, then I think it's crystal clear that all of his actions are an attempt to protect himself and perhaps people close to him from the consequences of this investigation. And if that's why he's doing these things, that can be obstruction of justice.
CABRERA: So, if there is proof of obstruction of justice, as you perceive it now, what does Robert Mueller do with that?
PATE: Well, he continues to investigate. Ultimately, hoping, I think, to sit down with the president, not necessarily Mueller himself, but someone in the Special Counsel's Office, and give some very direct and specific questions to the president to try to see what his intent was when he took these actions.
And I am certain that if that interview does occur, the president will be confronted with some of the statements that he has made, some of the inconsistent statements that he has made, perhaps setting up not just an obstruction case but a false statement case as well.
CABRERA: Larry, we just learned there's a couple bipartisan bills now being pushed on Capitol Hill to protect the special counsel, but they will be proposals in government funding bills so attached to the next CR, smart idea?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, they have to try to do something. I think there is a real fear, legitimate fear, that if cornered, President Trump will try to fire Bob Mueller. Obviously, he did try earlier in the year in June.
The amazing thing is that with all of the resources, of all of these news organizations, all the sources they now have confirming that President Trump did indeed want to fire Bob Mueller, you still have President Trump calling it, quote, "false news. Fake news." It is not fake. It is not false. So, I think it's the right assumption that he'll try to do it. He'll make a terrible mistake if he does. He needs to go back and review what happened to President Nixon after the Saturday night massacre when Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the independent counsel. I think there will be massive opposition. I think people will pour into the streets if he does it.
CABRERA: Douglas, are you seeing more comparisons to Richard Nixon?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, there's no question about it. Everybody's Nixon bell is being rung. I think that one of the things that is surprising about Trump's attempt to fire Mueller is that this hasn't leaked out before now. That means there's a lot of covering up going on in the White House that this hasn't leaked sooner. And everybody in the White House has to be very fearful, just to even be in an environment with Donald Trump working in government is dangerous. You know, Harry Truman used to famously say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. And Donald Trump is saying, I love the heat, bring on the heat. But he now has radioactive heat around him, Donald Trump. This last bit of news about wanting to get rid of Mueller is a big, almost a guarantee that obstruction of justice is going to be levied at him when the report comes out.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You know what else is really interesting about all of these revelations is now we realize that about maybe three officials have threatened to resign under Trump. We have Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has apparently threatened after Trump expressed his anger over his recusing himself from the Russia probe. We have Christopher Wray threatening to leave after being pressured to fire top FBI officials. And now White House Counsel Don McGahn, as the reporting goes, threatened to step down after Trump ordered him to fire Mueller.
So, Larry, just how unusual is it for three top officials to threaten to resign in a president's first year?
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Yes, emphasize the first year. It's hard to imagine what's coming in year two, in year three, in year four. Assuming he serves out the term. Look, I'm sure for some of those officials, it might be a relief to leave the administration. They would certainly have reduced legal fees. It's frightening for many of these Trump advisers and staff members who are lower level but who have to lawyer up. And they don't have the resources for that. They're government jobs, they don't pay that much, but it's another warning signal about President Trump. What he does, what he's willing to do, and what he simply doesn't understand about the presidency.
CABRERA: Page, just think, what if they didn't threaten to resign? What if they followed through on what the president was asking them to do? Where would we be?
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's the thing about the special counsel that we have to remember. It's not an independent counsel. We got rid of that law, so the special counsel serves as the pleasure of the leadership of the Department of Justice, and that leadership serves at the pleasure of the president. So the special counsel is only as independent as the president allows the special counsel to be. That's a major problem. So if you want to have any objectivity and be comfortable and confident that the special counsel has got to be free from improper influence, you have to do something to make that office separate and apart from the Department of Justice in my opinion when you have a president like this who has shown his interest in trying to influence what's going on in that investigation.
CABRERA: Douglas, should people threatening to resign be the only check on the president's power? Where are Republicans who have control of Congress?
BRINKLEY: The Republicans are running for midterm elections in November. And they're desperate not to get on the bad side of Donald Trump. We can see the strategy of 2018 unfolding. The Mueller report is going to charge obstruction of justice. Trump's going to say it's just fighting back. It's going to be very ugly. You're going to lose some Republicans. It looks like a very good year for the Democrats to win Congress but not the Senate. And hence, Congress will move to impeach Donald Trump, but that happened to Bill Clinton, that Congress impeached him, but when it went to the Senate, the Senate would not. I think Donald Trump's straw, his island of last resort is going to be that the Senate won't move to impeach him. And although it's an ugly year for Republicans, he'll be, in 2019, back on his feet just like Bill Clinton became the comeback kid.
CABRERA: Gentlemen, I really appreciate the conversation. Larry Sabato, Page Pate, Douglas Brinkley, thank you all.
PATE: Thank you, Ana.
[17:34:00] CABRERA: Still to come this hour, the president says he will support a pathway to citizenship for nearly two million undocumented immigrants as long as he gets $25 billion for his border wall. Will Democrats take that deal or are we headed for potentially another government shutdown? I'll talk to a lawmaker about that, next.
CABRERA: President Trump says he will support a pathway to citizenship for nearly two million undocumented immigrants, as long as he gets $25 billion for his border wall, the border wall he originally said Mexico would pay for. Well, the big question now is, will Democrats take this deal, or should we prepare for another government shutdown?
With us to discuss this and more, Democratic lawmaker, Nita Lowey, of New York.
Congresswoman, thank you very much.
Before we get to some of the details about the deal the president is proposing, I want to talk about the guest you're planning to bring with you at the State of the Union this week, a DREAMer. REP. NITA LOWEY, (D), NEW YORK: Hugo is a lovely, really articulate
young man who was brought here by his parents. He was under the age of 15. He's working after he went to school. He has a very good job with amazon. He lives in Auckland County, and he wrote me a letter and asked me for help. I said, come on in, let's talk about it. Then I decided to invite him to Washington because I do think when more people, Democrat or Republicans, really understand who these DREAMers are, they are more supportive. He went to school here. This is the only country he really knows. He's married. He works hard. He's successful. And so he's coming to Washington with me.
[17:40:02] CABRERA: We do hear from all sides, from the president, the Republicans in Congress as well as Democrats, that these DREAMers need to be protected. We have this deal, the president is proposing 1.8 million citizens should have a path to citizenship. These undocumented immigrants, including the DREAMers. Current DREAMers account for 800,000 people. So he's saying more than that should get a path to citizenship. In exchange, let's get $25 billion for a wall, eliminate the diversity lottery, scale back family reunification also known as chain migration. Can you see yourself and your colleagues supporting this kind of a plan? Everybody giving a little and getting something in return?
LOWEY: Look, we have been operating under a continuing resolution. October, November, December, January. There's no budget. When you put a budget together, Democrats and Republicans sit down and work it out. Remember, Chuck Schumer, the head of the Senate, offered the president a $25 billion wall. That whole deal blew up. I think if we can sit down, Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, work out a budget, and in that context, remember, Secretary Mattis is requested a huge increase, which is over $700 billion, and Secretary Mattis understands that I have to fund the nondefense part in addition to the defense part. So as we look at all these numbers, and we look at the amount of money that the president wants for defense, and we haven't dealt with it yet, even this year, we're up to the next year now.
CABRERA: You have taken the leap to defense spending, but we're talking about the immigration bill here. Are you saying that this immigration plan will have to be tied to whatever the next budget bill is?
LOWEY: What I am saying, the way the Congress operates is you have to have a total budget. You can't prescribe money for a wall or even technical equipment if you don't have a whole budget. And we're four months behind for 2018. Secretary Mattis is already looking at 2019.
CABRERA: Got you. I want to ask you about Russia, so I'm going to move forward here because we learned this week so much in the Russia investigation. And --
LOWEY: Hard to keep up with it.
CABRERA: It really is. Now there are two separate bills we understand in the Senate that have been proposed to protect the special counsel, Robert Mueller. Are you hearing about anything like that happening in the House? LOWEY: It is outrageous to me that there would even be consideration
on the part of this president or whatever people who work for him to even think about dismissing the Special Representative Mueller. He is doing, according to all the information we have, a very thorough job. And we have to let him do his work. But to even think of dismissing him is outrageous.
CABRERA: Are you worried the president will try to?
LOWEY: The president tweets in the middle of the night. He tweets in the middle of the day. You really know that he is spontaneous in his way of evaluating a situation. So I don't know what he's going to do today. I don't know what he's going to do tomorrow. But if he even thinks of dismissing Mueller, it would be a huge mistake. And I think there would be bipartisan support strongly against that action.
CABRERA: Too early to talk impeachment?
LOWEY: I would rather continue to talk Mueller's investigation. I want to hear what he's found. I want him to report to the Congress. And I think that's the best way to proceed.
CABRERA: Thank you so much, Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
LOWEY: Thank you.
CABRERA: Good to see you.
LOWEY: Thank you.
CABRERA: Legendary rapper and music mogul, Jay-Z, walked by my office door a short time ago, causing one of those double takes. He is helping CNN's Van Jones kicking off his brand-new show tonight. Coming up, Jay-Z gets personal, telling Van Jones about the ups and downs in his marriage, in his family. We'll discuss here in the NEWSROOM.
[17:48:04] CABRERA: CNN's Van Jones has a brand-new show. It's premiering tonight at 7:00 eastern with a mega superstar guest. Talking about Jay-Z, the 21-time Grammy Award winner and cultural icon, who was spotted strolling the halls of CNN just a short time ago, thrilling the staffers here in New York, of course.
Jay-Z is known for his groundbreaking music, his savvy business acumen, his role as a high-profile husband to superstar, Beyonce.
Here's a sneak peek of the intimate conversation with the legendary rapper, Jay-Z, opening about marriage to his soul mate Beyonce. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN JONES, CNN HOST, VAN JONES SHOW: What is it about this marriage that is so special that you would fight this hard to save it? JAY-Z; RAPPER: Well, it's my soul mate. It's the person I love. You
know, and you can be in love with someone. You can love someone and if you haven't experienced love and you don't understand it and you don't have the tools to move forward, then you're going to have complications, period. And if you -- you can either address it or pretend until it blows up at some point. And you know, for us, we chose to fight for our love. For our family. To give our kids a different outcome. You see, you know, to break that cycle. For black men and women, you know, to see a different outcome. Like you were saying, it's not this celebrity couple. We were never a celebrity couple. We were a couple who just happened to be celebrities.
JONES: That's beautiful, man.
JAY-Z: We're real people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Van Jones is with us now.
Van, Jay-Z, Beyonce, they have three young children. They had twins last year. What more did he say about the challenges of balancing his family and his high-profile career.
JONES: So funny, he was so honest. And I mean, this is a side of Jay-Z I don't think many people have seen outside of his inner circle. He got very honest. He talked about how the twins are so little that they can't move and run around. They're seven months old so they can't walk and cause chaos and is he able to manage it.
Just talking about regular dad stuff and going to therapy. It was a big stigma in the black community against going to therapy. Another big stigma in the black community against going to therapy.
[17:50:16] CABRERA: There's a stigma in our country about going to country.
JONES: Yes. I know, for African-Americans, as scared as we are of cops as we are, we're more scared of therapy. I said, you went to therapy and you talk about it publicly. He explained it in such a powerful way why. I asked him about him mom. His mother came out of the closet. You know, she had been a closeted lesbian for you know years, decades. And how that felt for him. And the pride that he had talking about that, and that -- you know, a lot of people say -- you love that person, but that lifestyle is wrong.
CABRERA: He's not embarrassed by it.
JONES: No. And proud. And the minute I challenged him, you know, some people think that lifestyle is wrong. And he said that's discrimination and bigotry and went right after it. He talked about the "Me Too" movement.
CABRERA: As a husband of a powerful woman. JONES: He broke down how powerful men deal with power and sex. And
people are like, whoa. I mean, so --
CABRERA: Yes. You told me you were still processing still in the Green Room.
JONES: The whole team.
CABRERA: Because you were so surprised.
CABRERA: Eye opening. He was so honest.
JONES: He was so honest. So confessional. I think that's what's missing in our society right now. You know, hip-hop used to just be all braggadocios and accusatory and my party is great, your party sucks, all of a sudden, he breaks with that. He's doing confessional hip-hop on his album and doing confessional videos. He might be opening up a space in our culture. Maybe we can let our guard down a little bit. Be more honest. Talk about what's going on as opposed to all the projection and accusation. But, listen, you said you had your questions and I had mine in my hand. It went a --
CABRERA: This conversation is too good.
CABRERA: Let me ask you, no doubt people are tuning in for Jay-Z's interview, and I can't wait to see that.
But you have a really insightful segment in your show tonight. You have your Van in the van.
CABRERA: You took it to Charlottesville, Virginia, was the scene of the deadly protests earlier this year involving white supremacists. Let's take a sneak peek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: How do you feel seeing a sign that says Heather Heyer Highway?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
A mother's child is gone. A community member is gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were a number of people including the president of the university who said don't go downtown. Stay away from downtown.
JONES: Somebody might mistake you as saying it was Heather Heyer's fault for coming down here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. I don't feel it's her fault.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People of good sound mind did not believe the way to handle the situation is to pretend they weren't there and nothing was going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So explain to us what you were trying to accomplish through this.
JONES: You know, I believe in dialogue. I don't believe people have to agree with each other. In fact, in a democracy the whole point is you don't have to degree. Dictatorship you have to agree. But you have a responsibility to try to understand and what's happening is not only are we disagreeing we're now disrespecting, disregarding, not even listening. Said, listen, let's get this Van, my producer had an idea, let's put Van in a Van, and put two white conservatives who support the monuments -- not the Nazis but support the monuments and a black liberal who doesn't and drive around together. We drove to the monuments. We drove to the site that Heather Heyer died. And they talked. It got tense. And then it got a little bit better. I don't think anybody changed their position, but I think they changed their level of insight and understanding. And just that is enough sometimes to bring the temperature down. It was powerful. It was emotional.
Part of the "VAN JONES SHOW," the whole point of the show is I want to bring into the conversation people who aren't usually in it. Whether it's pop stars who you don't hear from that often on politics, let them have a seat at the table. And about regular grass roots folks we talk about. Charlottesville, Flint, Michigan, Ferguson, these aren't sound bites. People live there. People were born there. When the cameras leave, they're still there.
CABRERA: So true.
JONES: I want to go back to those places and hear from those people and get their wisdom out to the country. Because that's how we're going to learn and grow and become better.
CABRERA: And maybe it will help us all to see how people are listening to each other, in your show, and give us some leading by example there.
Van Jones, thank you very much for bringing it to us.
JONES: Thank you.
[17:54:56] CABRERA: We look forward to your show tonight.
Again, that's coming up at 7:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN, the "VAN JONES SHOW."
That's going to do it for me now.
It's "SMERCONISH" up next, followed by Van's show.
And I'll be back here at 8:00 p.m. eastern here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for being with us. See you soon.
[17:59:51] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: I'm Michael Smerconish, in Philadelphia. We welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.
So are we headed for a face-to-face showdown between the president and Special Counsel Robert Mueller or, despite the president's words, might he never testify? I'll ask lawyers from both defense and prosecution in the investigation of Bill Clinton what lessons they learned about --