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17 People Shot at the New Jersey Art Festival, 4 Critical; Former Trump Operative Roger Stone Met With Russian Who Wanted $2m for Clinton Dirt; Trump and Kim to Speak Today by Phone; CNN Spotlights Champions For Change; "United Shades of America" Airs Tonight at 10 p.m. E.T./P.T. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired June 17, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:03] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Seventeen of them had gunshot injuries. Four are in critical condition, including a 13- year-old boy.
A prosecutor says, one suspect was killed after being confronted by a police officer and another suspect was taken into custody. Police say the gunfire sparked chaos and fear.
ANGELO NICOLO, WITNESS: Shots were fired and a couple people got shot. I don't know if they got the shooter or what, but it was -- it's pretty nuts. So it's a shame because they try to do something nice here and then people have to ruin it.
EDWARD FORCHION, WITNESS: All of a sudden inside the doorway, there about 10 shots went off, like pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. And everybody started running. You can hear like the shots, you can feel. Like that was that close to every shot. I could feel it like the repercussions whatever you call it.
WHITFIELD: CNN's Brynn Gingras is Trenton, New Jersey. So Brynn, what more can you tell us?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. I want to sort of paint the scene for you as far as this art festival is concerned. It would be in its 12th year celebrates artists, musicians and artist alike. And it was taking place 3:00 p.m. yesterday to 3:00 this afternoon. Now, of course that's been canceled because of what happen overnight.
But people in this area basically say this was a place where it was safe. It's not plagued by gun violence, which unfortunately this area of New Jersey often is. And then, of course, what happened last night.
We know that again about 2:45 in the morning, gunshots rang out just in that building behind me. That's where the art festival was. About a thousand people were in attendance, so you can imagine the chaos that ensued. About 17 people, or rather 17 people exactly, we're told by authorities, were hit by gunfire and taken to the hospital. One of those a 13-year-old boy, according to the prosecutor, is in critical condition. And really, it's just senseless, that's how the governor is describing it, a senseless gun tragedy.
We know as far as the suspects are concerned, a 33-year-old man was shot by police. That's why now a homicide task force is the lead investigators on this. But the ATF is also involved because they found a number of guns here at the scene.
We also -- the second suspect is in custody, though, we don't know his affiliation with the gunman who was killed, and we also don't know either of those men names at all. We know that this was not terrorism related and it seems the motive behind this was some sort of neighborhood dispute in this area that sort of port over into this art festival. But people describe the chaos, they said they've heard what they thought was fireworks because there was such rapid fire and then of course learned that it was gunfire during this event which, again, is supposed to be safe. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Brynn Gingras, thanks so much. Keep us posted.
All right, Roger Stone, a long-time adviser to President Donald Trump, met with a Russian who offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton in exchange for a $2 million payment. That's according to Stone and former Trump Campaign Communication Official Michael Caputo both confirming that with CNN. And this is about a meeting two years ago.
A letter to the House Intelligence Committee obtained by CNN says Caputo was the one who arranged the meeting between Stone and a man who called himself Henry Greenberg. Neither Caputo nor Stone disclosed the meeting to congressional investigators, and they say they believe the meeting was part of a larger effort to try to set up the Trump campaign.
White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez joining me right now. So Boris, what are we hearing from the White House?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, I contacted a number of White House officials about this asking whether President Trump was made aware of this admission by Roger Stone that he met with this Russian back in May of 2016. I've yet to get a response.
So we should point out that both Roger Stone and Michael Caputo have been asked dozens perhaps hundreds of times whether they actually met with any Russian nationals during the campaign, both of them denying it vociferously at times. However, it appears that Robert Mueller apparently jogged their memory, Michael Caputo acknowledging that he had completely forgotten this meeting until he was presented with text messages during a meeting with the special counsel that he exchanged with Roger Stone after this meeting wrapped up. Roger Stone told me that he had forgotten this meeting until Michael Caputo reminded him. He said that the meeting was so ludicrous that he had completely forgotten about it. Now both men are claiming that they've -- that they believe that Henry Greenberg was an FBI informant who was sent to essentially entrap them in order to help someone at the Department of Justice, apparently, infiltrate the Trump campaign.
Rudy Giuliani, the President's attorney, weighed in on this, this morning on CNN, saying that he didn't totally agree with the idea that Henry Greenberg was an FBI informant. He called him a strange person. Listen to this.
RUDY GIULIANI, LAWYER FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: The most extraordinary thing is on some document he described himself as an informant.
[15:05:01] Every informant I ever had tried to keep that secret. You don't like say, oh, I'm an informant. I can come to the United States.
So it sounds like a very strange guy. Was he an FBI informant or not? Well, we know from the probe by the inspector general that the FBI at the highest levels here were doing very, very unorthodox things, if not out and out illegal and unethical.
So would they be using a guy like this? I doubt it, because you don't just say you're an informant.
SANCHEZ: So Giuliani disagreeing with Stone and Caputo there, but he did agree with Stone on the idea that President Trump was never aware of this meeting. He said he did not believe that Stone told Trump. One final note, Fred, Greenberg denied publicly that he was working for the FBI when he met with Roger Stone. He says his work as an FBI informant ended back in 2013. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you very much.
Let's talk more about this. Here with me now, CNN Political Commentators John Thomas and David Jacobson and CNN Legal and Political Commentator Ken Cuccinelli.
All right, Ken, let me begin with you because it does appear that there are kind of different explanations as to what could be behind this or Giuliani takes the --
KEN CUCCINELLI, CNN LEGAL & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
WHITFIELD: -- approach to discredit whether this Henry Greenberg could possibly be an informant. Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say that this is evidence that the federal government, you know, was out to get this campaign early on. How do you see this? CUCCINELLI: Well, first of all, as between these players, Rudy Giuliani, while he's been pushing hard on the rhetorical envelope lately, has actual experience that Roger Stone doesn't have, and I would agree with him as a former attorney general. It is a pretty uncommon thing to see people bragging about being an informant. That is not common behavior.
So it does make -- it's a head scratcher more than anything in terms of what might be going on here. I think it confuses things substantially. And like I said, I think Rudy Giuliani's perspective on this is a lot more credible than, say, Roger Stone, just given his experience.
WHITFIELD: So then, John, why -- what do you see behind Roger Stone and Michael Caputo then willingly sharing with the "Washington Post" and confirming it with CNN after being interviewed by the special counsel, that yes, this Henry Greenberg, a Russian, did meet with Roger Stone. Nothing came of it and mean in terms of no transaction for information. What's with the willingness to reveal this?
JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's because Roger Stone must believe that it's so laughable that this guy had real intel. I mean, just like Giuliani was saying, if you're an informant, you don't say you're an informant --
WHITFIELD: And why didn't he remember it during the congressional investigation?
THOMAS: Yes. All I can figure is just thinking as a campaign operative. We meet with people all the time there, trying to say they know, you know, and they have intel. And I'm sure Roger took lots of meetings like that, 99.9% of them which never panned out to anything --
WHITFIELD: From Russians about dirt --
THOMAS: Well --
WHITFIELD: -- on Hillary Clinton.
THOMAS: -- his name was Henry Greenberg. It doesn't sound like a Russian operative. But what was interesting in Stone did a dossier dump on this guy, and it turns out that he said he says he's been an informant for Russia, north -- to the FBI for Russia, North Korea, Iran. He is an illegal resident. He was supposed to be deported but apparently the FBI allowed him to stay in the U.S. There's a lot of shady things going on.
I think in the end of the day, Roger Stone had no official role on the Trump campaign. I don't think he was paid a dollar. He was a friend of Donald Trump. So nothing came of this, and it's just -- it's another weird moment, but I'm not sure there's any "there" there.
WHITFIELD: So Dave, how do you see this information, how the that Trump campaign or Trump supporters might use this to help show, see, look, you know, the Feds were out to get him and this dates back to two years ago with this meeting with this potential FBI informant?
DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I just don't thing there's any evidence, you know, underscoring the facts, that this guy actually wasn't real informant for the FBI. And I think this is actually reflective of the meeting that Trump Jr. got, that the Trump Tower meeting, where, you know, in exchange essentially for Russian dirt, they took the meeting in Trump Tower. I mean this was essentially that.
And he's got Roger Stone who perhaps had no formal role on the campaign, but there's no doubt that he talked to Donald Trump regularly. He bragged about it all the time. I mean he was essentially an adviser to the President if it seeming even before the campaign, right?
THOMAS: Yes. Yes. They did know each other well. What would be fascinating is days unfold.
I think the FBI and Robert Mueller had no comment on this at the matter, but if, in fact, Greenberg was an informant for the FBI, this will be the second time that there was a spy or an informant, whatever you want to call it, and what an informant related in the Trump campaign sent by the Feds.
WHITFIELD: So, Ken, is this advantageous for Trump, his supporters, the campaign or does this underscore that people are not telling the truth? At first Stone and others were asked about meeting with Russians and then they didn't, and now an admission, they did.
[15:10:13] CUCCINELLI: Yes. I actually don't think this one moves the needle in either direction, especially, you know, here we are talking about it just a matter of days. You can still measure an hours since the I.G. report came out, which is chock full of new information and material that does show -- forget the Russians, it shows FBI agents and lawyers at the FBI who had a very strong ax to grind and there was lots of evidence of political bias.
This pales in comparison, just pales. I think the earlier description of it is just one more weird event might actually be put in it's proper context. It's just --
WHITFIELD: And the I.G. report --
CUCCINELLI: -- not very significant.
WHITFIELD: -- and of course the dialogue between two, their relations and --
CUCCINELLI: No, five --
WHITFIELD: -- how they were talking --
CUCCINELLI: Yes, actually five --
WHITFIELD: -- in terms of --
CUCCINELLI: -- there were three other FBI --
WHITFIELD: In terms of saying, you know, we're not going to let it happen?
CUCCINELLI: -- folks who haven't gotten a lot of news coverage.
WHITFIELD: In terms of --
CUCCINELLI: Right. That's the most -- yes, that's the most famous tweet as between two of them, you're right. But they literally -- this I.G. had to create separate sections of his report because there were so many messages from these five different FBI agents and employees, and that didn't go into the other employees who were responding to some of them. They literally created all three different categories to cover all of these.
And in the news you've only seen a small fraction of them, including the one you just referenced will stop him kind of a language. It's hard to not conclude that that person can't be objective for the remainder of both investigations, Hillary's in what then was not barely a week old that the Trump investigation.
WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there. Ken Cuccinelli, John Thomas, Dave Jacobson good to see you all. Thank you so much.
JACOBSON: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, the first lady now speaking out about the immigration crisis, saying she hates to see children separated from their parents at the border, so why isn't her husband stopping it? We'll discuss.
Plus, an undocumented woman living in the United States says she fears what will happen to her if she's deported back to her country, her story straight ahead.
[15:16:43] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome Back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Right now, a protest in Texas pleading with the President of the United States to end forced separation of immigrant children and their parents. People are gathering at immigration facilities standing against the White House' zero tolerance policies. Homeland Security says nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents in a six-week span.
President Trump says he hates what's happening and falsely blames Democrats saying his hands are tied. First Lady Melania Trump weighed in a short time ago. Her spokeswoman telling CNN, "Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws but also a country that governs with heart."
CNN Correspondent Dianne Gallagher is with lawmakers who just tour a facility in Texas. So Dianne, what we're seeing?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Fred, at this point right now, you actually have the lawmakers who are inside the facility behind me touring at this point. They brought the press in by themselves a little bit earlier. I should just walk out of this holding facility, this processing center. They called a centralized processing center in the Rio Grande Valley. Its actually they deal with an issue in it the highest volume of individuals.
You can probably hear the protests going on around me. I'm going to have our kind of show a little bit of that, as we're talking about it because we couldn't bring cameras in, they say, for privacy reasons.
So we couldn't bring phones, anything like that. We brought our notebooks then to take notes. About 1100 people we saw that are in there right now are most of those people are family units and/or they have a lot of unaccompanied minors in there right now.
So perhaps why they took us on this guided tour, Fred, is because this is not where the separation is happening behind those doors. We saw plenty of mothers with their children, we saw fathers with their children. We saw unaccompanied minors and holding facilities with themselves. They're in these units. There's a -- it's a warehouse and you can imagine, got a concrete floor, about 12-foot cage-like facilities, these holding centers, and they separate them by adult gender. And children who were there with their families get to stay either with their mother or their father. Those who are unaccompanied are all together and then the older teenage boys seem to be separated out.
The younger kids all together, kind of -- but this is not what we're talking about, when we talk about the separation. That happens once they leave this facility.
And perhaps that's why we took this tour to see this because we did see those families together. We were only allowed to talk to a couple of them. I spoke to one woman. She said that she had come here from Guatemala. She'd been here for about four days. She had her one- year-old daughter with her. She left her son back in Guatemala. She was only 24 years old and she started crying when she was talking to me, Fred. She said that she'd been separated from the people that she came across the border with.
She didn't know where they were. She was scared. And that she didn't know what was going to happen next. Then when we talked to the border patrol agents in here because of this zero tolerance policy that means every adult in there, with the exception of very few, is going to be prosecuted for the crime of entering the country illegally.
[15:20:05] And so these parents will eventually, at least for the most part, be separated from their children to continue with that prosecution. And that happens with the ORR, that happens with HHS. And we asked many, many questions about the separation in that facility. They continue to say you will see families inside our facility. That's not something -- you have to talk to ICE, you have to talk to ORR. You have to talk to HHS about that.
Some of the kids that we talked to, one boy from Guatemala told me he was doing great, it was better than what he had experienced. He'd been inside this facility for three days.
It's a temporary holding facility in here until the next step. We didn't see teenage girls in there, and that's something that we asked the chief down here about, where those teenage girls are being held, where the girls in general are being held. What facility that is?
He didn't have an answer for us, he'd kind of moved on to another question there. He seemed in support of the zero tolerance policy, to be very honest, Fred. He said that they had to do something to deter the illegal crossings, they had to do something to deter crime as that there was no deterrent.
He mentioned catch and release did not serve as the deterrent. And one of the agents who move in there said that, look, some of this is just a result of breaking the law and coming to this country illegally.
Another adult that I'd spoke to, an assistant chief, said she's a mother. She hates that people think that she's in here ripping children away from their parents. That's not what she's doing. She is making sure while they're in this particular facility that they are with their families.
They have, you know, food, they have water all day. We did see that everywhere. There are diapers, there are mattresses all over the ground. But again Fred, this is a very temporary facility. This is not where these kids will stay or end up once they are separated from their families because of this zero tolerance prosecution.
So yes, inside there, it looks like a holding center. There are men who are laid in these smaller cells all ling the ground. It basically looks like a carpet of human beings with blankets over them lying across the floor just body to body, shoulder to shoulder.
But in the family facilities, they are much larger cages, if you will the 12-foot cages up there where children are running around and playing. They have, you know, G-rated Disney movies they can watch. They're with their parents, but what happens after they leave this processing center? That's where -- That's why they are out here, that's why the protesters are here saying what happens next is criminal, they believe.
The government says that in their mind, if you commit a crime, you don't get to take your children with you to jail, you shouldn't get to take your children with you once being you're prosecuted for coming here undocumented.
WHITFIELD: All right, a powerful messaging. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much.
Here with me now CNN Political Commentators John Thomas and Dave Jacobson.
All right, so hearing the point of view of what it looks like in there, people in cages. That's pretty tough to defend, Dave.
JACOBSON: It's barbaric. It's un-American, I said this yesterday, but increasingly Donald Trump is turning this nation into Nazi Germany and turning these into concentration camps. It is deplorable, it's abhorrent, and it's horrifying. And it is totally against our American values.
WHITFIELD: And so John how does the President defend that visual? How does the first lady who's now spoken out for the first time by way of her spokesperson who says she hates to see children separated from their parents is hoping both sides can come together and, you know, enforce the laws with heart. But then when you hear the descriptions like that from Dianne Gallagher's point of view as well as other people who've been in these facilities who are saying people are lining the floors like carpets, and people are being held like in cages, families, separated.
THOMAS: Well, Melania is clearly throwing her political capital in to help it move the needle and get a deal done in the Congress.
WHITFIELD: How is she moving the needle?
THOMAS: Well, she's a very popular figure. So she's saying, look --
WHITFIELD: She's saying same thing her husband just said, though.
THOMAS: Right, and her husband is saying, let's make a deal, let's solve this problem. Its actually Congress is going to be to blame if they can't get a deal through. Trump is saying I'm willing to sign an immigration deal but it's not just dealing with these children. We have to secure that border --
WHITFIELD: But it's the President's policy or practice, zero tolerance practice, that put it -- was put into place April and May. And so the President has the power to either undo that or reframe it, make it more humane, because that is the overall complaint from so many, that it's inhumane, it's un-American is the terminology we're hearing so many use.
THOMAS: Right. So that's true in a sense, but remember, Donald Trump has to stop -- has to create deterrence to reduce illegal immigration. Prior to the last 10 years, illegal immigration was largely males seeking economic prosperity. That was it.
And then illegal immigrants learned that if they bring over families through the catch and release policy that they can kind of skirt our laws. And when Trump first took office, there was almost a complete shutdown of illegal immigration, illegal border crossing.
[15:25:03] But once illegal immigrants started to realize, hey, Trump isn't getting his wall, they're starting to creep up. So Trump has to serve things as deterrents. I think what they may do in the meantime is expanding these family detention centers so at least while these things are getting sorted out.
The other nuance here I don't think it's being told that is if you're crossing the border for the first time illegally, it's a misdemeanor. If you're reentering for the second time or third time or fourth or fifth time, it becomes a felony. And misdemeanor process happens very quickly within a day or twos, you're reunited. A felony procedure takes a long run.
WHITFIELD: But reportedly children are being separated from their parents whether it's a misdemeanor or not.
WHITFIELD: So, I mean --
THOMAS: That's happening within a day or two on the misdemeanor side, they're reunited.
WHITFIELD: So Dave, there's a talk of this deterrence, but the deterrence does not change the scenario from which many of these families are fleeing, horrible conditions.
WHITFIELD: They are fleeing for their lives. Some are --
THOMAS: Well --
WHITFIELD: -- seeking asylum. I mean --
THOMAS: Well, that's --
WHITFIELD: But if you are that desperate, if you are that fearful of your life, wherever you are, whether you're in central America or whether it's in Mexico, you know, and you're making your way north --
WHITFIELD: The deterrents that, you know, that you or others are speaking of, this is not changing the circumstance that they are fleeing because they see that the risk, you know, is not that great compared to --
JACOBSON: Well, at home --
WHITFIELD: -- the risk of staying where they are.
JACOBSON: Right. At home they've got rape, they've got death, they've got murder. And here they're facing torture, right? There were their children are facing torture.
THOMAS: Torture? I'm sorry --
JACOBSON: Hold on, I've got a two-year-old.
(CROSSTALK) WHITFIELD: If you're a mother and your child and you're being separated from --
WHITFIELD: -- that's pretty torturous.
JACOBSON: Yes. Like I've got a two-year-old at home, you know --
JACOBSON: What if you're separated like that? I mean that is torture for a two-year-old. That has been --
WHITFIELD: Who's looking after your kid?
JACOBSON: These tiny children --
WHITFIELD: Here's the thing --
JACOBSON: -- are essentially --
THOMAS: Here's the issue about the asylum seekers --
JACOBSON: -- ripping torture.
THOMAS: -- instead of crossing illegally they could have gone in Mexico, the closest country to them, and sought --
WHITFIELD: But really --
THOMAS: -- refuge or gone to a station and done this properly to seek asylum rather than --
WHITFIELD: But is this issue --
THOMAS: -- committing a felony.
WHITFIELD: But is this issue one of politics or is it one of humanity because --
WHITFIELD: -- we're talking about this circumstance of separating families. We know that, you know, there are people who are going to make their way to the border. The issue of immigration is another. But this right here --
WHITFIELD: -- is not solely an issue of immigration or of politics, is it? Is it one of humanity?
THOMAS: Well, I honestly think it's both and I think it's a complicated challenge. For Donald Trump, while he and his wife clearly want to get to a solution on this, you know, Donald Trump's also concerned about people like Kate Steinle who are murdered by illegal aliens who are permanently separated from their families, right? He has to solve the poorest immigration problem we have so that American citizens are protected.
So he has to get it all done together. And that's what we're trying to do next week. And I'm encouraged that we're having this discussion because it puts pressure on Congress to do something.
JACOBSON: I think we're talking about two separate things. Separating children is immoral. It goes against American values. That's why the evangelical right has come out and skewer (ph) the president for this. If he wants to get an immigration deal done, that's one thing.
THOMAS: That made separating families?
JACOBSON: That's totally different.
THOMAS: Well, they're looking at solving both of these next week with a potential bill. So let's get it both done. And the thing is if you just --
WHITFIELD: But just to make clear the President does have the power to address this one more immediately while working on other things long term.
THOMAS: I think the challenge is if you say --
WHITFIELD: All right.
THOMAS: -- we'll do catch and release, that may just encourages more illegal immigration --
WHITFIELD: Well, leave it there for now.
THOMAS: -- more families across the border.
WHITFIELD: John, Dave, wish we have more time. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you both in here appreciate it. And we'll be right back.
[15:33:09] WHITFIELD: President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are scheduled to speak by phone today after the president of the United States told reporters last week he had given a direct phone number to the North Korean dictator.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to defend his summit with Kim amid criticism the U.S. didn't get much in return.
Joining me right now is Daily Beast Columnist Gordon Chang, and author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World." Gordon, good to see you. All right, so if and when there is a phone call, what would you hoping that they would talk about? How should the president handle a phone call?
GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST, DAILY BEAST: Well, this is just another interim step. What's really important here, Fred, is that the United States preserves the nuclear non-proliferation regime, ensures peace stability in the region, and disarms North Korea. And, you know, I hope we get there, but the president doesn't deserve praise for a phone call. And I don't know, really, what he could say to Kim that he didn't say during the June 12 summit.
The important point is I think the negotiations, as secretary of state Pompeo and others are conducting with their North Korean counterparts because that's where the real work will get done.
WHITFIELD: And then reportedly, you know, South Korea's presidential house, known as the Blue House, told CNN that they actually welcomed today's planned call. And about this direct line, and this was the statement coming at it saying, "It is a symbolic event for progress" about that direct line that President Trump gave Kim. How are you hoping that will be utilized?
CHANG: Well, I think that if there are tough spots in the negotiations, which I think that there will be for a number of reasons, then I do hope that the two leaders talk and are able to sort things out. We're probably not there yet because the summit was just June 12th. So, you know, if they develop a good bond, that's great.
But one of the things that's important in all of this is that, you know, we as Americans think that if we show friendliness that the other side will reciprocate.
[15:35:06] But Kim is in a system where he's not necessarily free to reciprocate what he may feel personally. He may love Donald Trump but -- I don't know, but the point is that he is bound by the restrictions in the Kim system. And so I don't think it really helps that much to have a great personal relationship. What helps is if Kim understands that he has no choice but to disarm.
WHITFIELD: Gordon Chang, thank you so much. Good to see you.
CHANG: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, all this week on CNN, we'll be profiling "Champions for Change". I'll bring you one story that is really important to me, using equine therapy to help people with mental and physical challenges.
[15:40:40] WHITFIELD: All this week, we'll be telling the stories of extraordinary people and organizations that are making a difference. This special series called "Champions for Change" gave us an opportunity to highlight issues that are important to us. And for those of us who believe deeply in the power of horses, words aren't enough to explain what happens when bridled, and I'm talking about the horse and the rider. It's why equine-assisted therapy is now helping people with mental and physical challenges, including military vets fighting PTSD.
RUSSELL "RUSTY" FAIRBARN, U.S. NAVY VETERAN: I was in the Navy for a year and eight months. I discharged in 2006.
WHITFIELD (on camera): What was it like for you when you got out of the Navy?
FAIRBARN: It was rough.
WHITFIELD (on camera): What do you mean?
FAIRBARN: You go from a very structured timetable of everything, you know, when you're doing what, and I was like, all right, now what? And I was just in a rough spot. It was major depression, anxiety, PTSD from my dad passing away.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Stacey Edwards has opened her barn and her heart here at Special Equestrians of Georgia to help as many vets as possible for free.
STACEY EDWARDS, FOUNDER, SPECIAL EQUESTRIANS OF GEORGIA: It's such a long road, I think, for anybody, but for the veterans who are already dealing with life issues, and then post-traumatic stress, and then trying to have a family. You know, there are so many things that we just as humans have to deal with.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): In 12 years of offering horse therapy here, she has yet to break even in operating costs but says she can't afford to not do this.
EDWARDS: With PTSD you can't get out of your head. Getting out of your head is therapeutic in itself. It's amazing to watch horses connect with people who have stuff going on, but for veterans in particular, it's a big, powerful animal that seems to understand them.
WHITFIELD (on camera): How's it made a difference in your life?
FAIRBARN: It's pretty much saved my life going from a very dark place, not having a lot of people to talk to or people I was comfortable talking to about all the issues I had. For me it was just wanting to run from everything, which I did for a long time. A lot of suicidal thoughts, and I still battle with them. I still battle with a lot of anxiety, but there's an outlet for all that now.
WHITFIELD (on camera): It really hits home with me because my dad is a military vet. And my brother is a military vet. My dad, he was a Tuskegee airman. He served in World War II, Korean War, U.S. Army and then later U.S. Air Force.
He would also be an Olympian representing the USA, representing the armed forces. Most of his years, he did not talk about his military service. And about five years before his passing did we as a family even know that he had been struggling with PTSD. Learning of his diagnosis and not knowing of the signs and not knowing that he may have been struggling with this all these years also kind of adds to the agony of what it is for so many military vets, that many are suffering in silence.
(voice-over) Like the markings on a horse, there are so many unique ways these massive magical creatures touch our lives. I've loved them from early on, even volunteering as a teen at Rock Creek Horse Center in Washington, D.C.
(on camera) You did good, girl.
I think when I came here it was really for selfish reasons that I would get a chance to be around horses. But at the same time what I ended up seeing here was that there was this beautiful therapeutic riding program. And I would see how transformational it would be when you would have riders who had down's syndrome, who had neurological, who had spinal issues.
KAYLA GIORDANO, RIDES AT ROCK CREEK HORSE PARK: I have cerebral palsy. I've realize with horseback riding, the horses don't judge who you are.
[15:45:03] They judge you on how well you can like try. They judge on your feelings, they want to help you.
WHITFIELD (voice-over): Everyone is looking for new outlets in which to address things that they have encountered, whether in combat or in training. The technique of equine therapy has advanced so much that challenges are just being tackled differently today.
(on camera) I mean, you are changing people's lives.
EDWARDS: I hope so. I like to help however I can. I think our most vulnerable population is also one of our most special population, especially our vets.
WHITFIELD: The horses and the horsemen and women are really amazing. And we continue to share these inspirational stories all well. And be sure to watch the "Champions for Change", one-hour special this Saturday, 8 p.m.
A new episode of "United Shades of AMERICA" airs tonight at 10 right here on CNN. And this time, W. Kamau Bell takes us to his home state of Alabama to retrace his family roots. He'll join us live with a preview.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:50:48] WHITFIELD: All right, tonight on CNN, W. Kamau Bell is back with an all new episode of "United Shades of America". And this week, Kamau heads to Mobile, Alabama to retrace his family roots and unmask some myths of the South. Take a listen.
W. KAMAU BELL, HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" (on camera): Can you explain Mobile to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BELL (on camera): That's how I feel about Mobile too sometimes. People outside of the South think that all the South is the same. Like they think South Carolina, Mobile, Alabama there's no difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, no. The way people talk is the biggest difference I'd say.
BELL (on camera): What's the difference in how they talk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where I'm at, it's really redneck country.
BELL (on camera): OK. All right, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And here it's kind of -- I don't know how to say this without --
BELL (on camera): Say it. Just say it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of uppity country.
BELL (on camera): Uppity country. I like that. I like that. Uppity country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know what that means.
BELL (on camera): I know what you mean. That's so interesting because I think people outside of here would not realize that there was lowbrow country and now what you call uppity country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's a big difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a big difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will say that I've had the best bowl of shrimp and grits in Mobile.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God, absolutely.
BELL (on camera): Was it near here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Right down the street at Mama's.
BELL (on camera): OK. All right. You ain't say nothing but a word. I'll see you all later. You guys do rock paper scissors for who hosts the show.
Yes, yes, I'll be back as soon I get those shrimp and grits. Excuse me Danny (ph), I got to go get some shrimp and grits.
WHITFIELD: Hey, I just take not note too. The next time I'm in Mobile, Alabama I'm going to Mama's. Hey, the host of "United Shades of America" W. Kamau Bell is joining me right now. And Happy Father's Day.
BELL: Thank you, thank you. I've got my kids with me right now. They're just locked away so you can't hear them.
WHITFIELD: I love it. So wait a minute, so all the time I'm thinking you're this bay city Cali guy. And so your roots are in Mobile, Cali -- Mobile, Alabama. You decide to return to your roots there and spend some time with your dad. Happy Father's Day to him too. So what was that journey like?
BELL: I mean, you know, I've been -- I was not born in Mobile but I've been going there ever since I was a kid. And so as much as people know me as being from the Bay area, I also lived in Chicago as I talked about on the show. I've kind of lived all over the country. I could run for president.
But, I just thought like it was important to go back to -- as people talk about the division of the country and how the South and people outside of the South are condescending to the South all the time, I was like, I wanted to show my version of the South and that's Mobile, Alabama.
WHITFIELD: I love it. And so, what do you think we're going to discover by way of your journey?
BELL: You know, it's interesting. As happens with United Shades, when things are happening in the news, somehow they relate to the show. As Jeff Sessions puts a black eye on Alabama and Christianity, my dad, who's an Alabama Christian is a very open guy, a very inclusive guy, a very intellectual guy. And also believes in things that people believe all around the country and knows what's going on.
So for me it's just a way to say, we often condescend to the South as being ignorant, and it was really important to me to show that's not the case, that there's diversity in the South.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And your dad was the insurance commissioner for Alabama, which made him the highest-ranking African-American in the state of Alabama. And in your piece, in your show, you show that he really has rubbed shoulders with a lot of people. They're very high- ranking people. And we were seeing some of them now, you have Condoleezza Rice and, you know, Colin Powell right there.
But did you appreciate, understand that as a kid? Or did this recent reconnection with your dad kind of open your eyes about the challenges that he faced, how he also tried to, you know, influence others along the way?
BELL: Well -- you know, I mean, the interesting thing about my dad is, you know, I've been going to Alabama my whole life. He's lived there my whole life and I've been going there my whole life. But I've seen my dad move up the ranks from a guy who was basically what we call unemployed sitting on the couch to a guy who's suddenly rubbing shoulders with Barack Obama.
And so, watching my dad do that gave me the inspiration to do what I've done in my career, which is like start from very sort of humble beginnings when nobody believed in what I could do except for my parents and move my way up to talking to Fredricka Whitfield on CNN.
WHITFIELD: Well, I love it. We're both paying homage to our dads today. My dad passed away, but you saw in the last piece, you know, how he inspired some of my thoughts, and I'd love to see how your dad continues to inspire your thoughts and the blaze that you continue to trail, W. Kamau Bell.
BELL: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much. And be sure to tune in. An all new episode of "United Shades of America" airs tonight at 10 only on CNN.
[15:55:04] Coming up, Roger Stone reveals a previously undisclosed meeting with a Russian national in 2016. This one months before the FBI opened an investigation into a DNC hack. So, why are we finding out about all of this now, two years later?
WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in Atlanta this Sunday. I want to take you straight to the border of Texas and Mexico, Mcallen, Texas where a group of lawmakers are talking there now after having toured a facility where families are being separated after crossing the border. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so in doing that, we're going to continue to press for that.