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AT THIS HOUR
Trump Again Rips NFL Players for Protesting National Anthem; FOX's Laura Ingraham Laments Massive Demographic Changes in U.S.; Judge in Manafort Trial Calls for Extended Recess; Manhattan Madam to Appear Before Grand Jury; Federal Judge Threatens to Hold A.G. Sessions in Contempt. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired August 10, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:04] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Baldwin.
You could have set a countdown clock for this one. NFL players protest during games last night and the president jumped at the chance to make it an issue of patriotism, "us versus them" once again. Several players on several teams took a knee or raised a fist during the national anthem before their preseason games. Why? We know why. To protest racial inequality and racial injustice. But the president doesn't seem to get that, writing this morning this, "Numerous players from different teams wanted to show their, quote, unquote, outrage at something that most of them are unable to define." He also said, "Stand proudly for your national anthem or be suspended without pay."
League officials right now say that players won't face punishment because they're still in negotiations with the Players Union over a new anthem policy.
Mind you, this is coming on the eve of the anniversary of violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead, after which, the president said they were, remember, fine people on both sides.
And mind you, this is a day after the president's Justice Department was slapped for brazenly disregarding a judge's order over asylum cases.
And just days after one of the president's most high-profile supporters on his favorite TV network said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX HOST, INGRAHAM: It does seem like the America we know and love doesn't exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted among the American people. And they are changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don't like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And add to this, hypocrisy alert. The first lady's parents became U.S. citizens yesterday as a result of -- wait for it -- chain migration. Yes. This.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to end chain migration. We have to end chain migration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Except maybe when the chain migration is coming from Slovenia and they are the parents of your wife, I guess.
So we wrapped this week asking the question we have asking many times before. When it comes to race relations in this country, where is the president in all of this? And where are we America?
CNN's Abby Phillip is traveling with the president in New Jersey with more of this.
Abby, you can set your watch with this one, protests at NFL games and the president firing off this morning. Why is the president going back at this?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kate. No one should be surprised that President Trump decided to weigh in on this issue. Again, President trump has made it clear over the last year, since he began this diatribe against the NFL at a rally in Alabama in September of last year, he's been doing at every single opportunity, in part, because it's something that moves his base. How do we know that? The president has said that. As CNN reported late last year, at a fundraiser, he told supporters this was a winning issue for his base. Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys' owner, testified under oath the president told him in a phone conversation, quote, "This is a very winning strong issue for me. This one lifts me."
Kate, it's clear, President Trump believes this is a political winner. We are months away from a midterm election in which the president is eager to gin up his base. This and so many issues are one of them. But I should also add it's not the first time in recent weeks that the president has seemed to question the intelligence of black professional athletes. He, just a week ago, said that LeBron James wasn't very smart. Now this time, he's saying that the players themselves don't understand what they are even protesting. We do know what they are protesting. They talk about it all the time. They are protesting racial injustice in this country. That's something President Trump has rarely talked about.
As you pointed out, we're on the eve of another protest, Unite the Right protest on the anniversary of the Charlottesville march a year ago. And President Trump hasn't said anything about that, hasn't spoken about the divisive rhetoric that's about to be on display in the nation's capital in a couple of days -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Abby, keep us updated if you hear more from the White House as we're looking at the president's feed right now. Joining me right now to discuss, Donte Stallworth, longtime NFL and now a CNN contributor, immigration attorney, Raul Reyes is here and CNN political commentator and host of "THE VAN JONES SHOW," Van Jones.
Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.
Donte, first to you.
You saw this from the president, another round of this. You're thinking what right now?
[11:04:46] DONTE STALLWORTH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think everyone knew the president would say something about players kneeling. He expects them to just take a backseat and turn a blind eye to the racial inequality going on in this country. You look at the people who are in prisons today, close to 60 percent of the prison population is people of color. These are the things the players have protested. This is what they have been talking about. They are eloquent and articulate and explicitly saying why they are protesting. The president said most of them are up able to clearly define why they are protesting when he's not been paying attention at all. He does not show -- or he does not show that same type of ire that he draws towards the NFL players as he does or as he has shown to the white nationalist who marched in Charlottesville, killing a young lady, and just a number of other things that are unacceptable in this country today, whether it be yelling and screaming, "Jews will not replace up." Is that the type of country we want to live in? We can't allow this to continue to fester. It's already gotten out of hand, but it can get even worse, and we shouldn't allow that.
BOLDUAN: All of this kind of happening at this same moment, Van. As Donte was getting to, when the president says most of the players aren't able to define what they are protesting, it's not like it was just defined. One of the players at the forefront of the protests, Malcolm Jenkins, he was on the show a year ago in September of last year, very eloquent. Maybe for the president, but for everyone, here is what Malcolm Jenkins say about why they are protesting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALCOLM JENKINS, NFL PLAYER: If you go back to where everything started, where the knee even came from, it's all about racial inequality --
JENKINS: -- when it comes to our justice system, when it comes to the education gap, economics. We feel like we have a responsibility to effectuate change in our communities. And this was an opportunity to grab ahold of that responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Van, what is the president doing with this idea of the players don't know what they are protesting? VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CNN HOST, "THE VAN JONES SHOW":
Unfortunately, he continues to do this kind of I.Q. insult against African-Americans. He calls Maxine Waters low I.Q. He calls LeBron James dumb. He calls Don Lemon dumb. He says the players can't define stuff. What all these people have in common is they are all African-American, or in the NFL case, mostly African-American. That's a standard racial stereotype that black people are intellectually inferior to white people. He tends the play in that nasty end of the pool quite a bit. That's what we have going on here.
BOLDUAN: At the same time, he was holding a criminal justice reform panel yesterday. This is something near and dear to your heart.
JONES: It's the tale of two presidencies. On the substance, what these players are talking about has pushed the conversation forward to the point that President Trump, this week, met with governors about criminal justice reform. On the substance, the president is moving in a good direction. On the symbols and on the nonsense and the politics of it versus the policy, he continues to step on the message and continues to play the thing. It's really the tale of two presidents. On the one hand, President Trump may do something positive on criminal justice on the policy side. But on the politics of it, he wants to keep playing nasty and dirty.
BOLDUAN: Then you have -- all of this adds to this moment. And add to this, Raul, what Laura Ingraham said on her show this week about changing demographics in this country is what we didn't vote for. She tried to distance herself from it in a statement. Take what you will. But there's no -- yes, I see you shaking your head. There's no dog whistle here. There's no talk of gang violence or border or security or terrorism.
RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION WRITER: No, or even undocumented immigrants. She's taking aim now at undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants, and these social, economic, cultural changes that we're seeing in this country, in her mind, over the last few years, which to her and a certain segment of the population, are not what they consider this country to be about. You're right. She did try to walk it back a little bit. This is not a dog whistle.
REYES: Certain things you cannot walk back. And she is wrong. When she talks about this is not what we voted for, the undocumented population in this country represent less than a fourth of all immigrants who are here. Everyone here came through legal channels, by lawful means. So we did vote for this by electing our lawmakers and electing our Congress this year and in years past that formulated our immigration laws. She's promoting a myth. And she knows what she is doing. She started off the conversation before this meditation on immigration, it began talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and it ended with a Honduran accused of some horrific crime. So it's pretty blatant that she means people of color who are changing the face of the nation.
[11:10:25] JONES: What is so terrible about this is that what conservatives have been saying is we are post-racial. You, liberals, you progressives, keep raising these issues. You're the problem.
BOLDUAN: The race card.
JONES: You're playing the race card. You're the problem. Nobody cares about racial stuff anymore. We might care about terrorism or gangs or we're following the rule of law, but it's not about race at all. Never mine. It's about race. I don't care. If you're not a terrorism, I don't care. If you're not a gang, I don't care. If you're not on welfare, I don't care. You are brown and I'm uncomfortable. What did we just spend the last five years talking about if the whole time we were right to feel like this feels like it's about race. They say, no, you're playing the race card. Well, now we can have the honest conversation.
BOLDUAN: It's about race.
REYES: It's about race and how people view this country. She views it as a majority white country. If Laura Ingraham is unhappy now, she's going to be miserable in the next generation, thanks to mixed race marriages and immigration, Asian-Americans, all sorts of people in this country. We are changing, like it or not. The country is changing. It doesn't make us less American. It makes us more diverse. That's what she doesn't like.
BOLDUAN: The census is now Laura Ingraham's mortal enemy.
Donte, a quote that sticks out here, and it's fitting for all of these topics, it came from the "Wall Street Journal," who did some reporting on the sworn deposition that Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, gave. He said that Trump told him when it comes to the NFL protest this, quote, "This is a very winning strong issue for me. Tell everybody you can't win this one. This one lifts me."
If that's the position of the president, what do can you do with it?
STALLWORTH: I think you just have to keep fighting. There's always been adversity towards those with progressive values, towards those who have fought against injustice. Not just in this country but around the world. Martin Luther King fought day in and day out against inequalities, racial inequalities, militarism, for poor people. He fought for the poor people's campaign. He was assassinated. Same thing with a number of other fellows around the world. It's not, unfortunately, something that will not go away. You have to keep fighting.
One of the best things the players have talked about is that they tried that best to ignore the president and continue to go to their local city halls and continue to meet with governors and attorneys generals, continue to donate hundreds of thousands and, in Kaepernick's case, millions of dollars. The players have been at the forefront of criminal justice reform, not the president. If the president was really serious about criminal justice reform, he would see these guys as allies and not as enemies. Of course, as we all noted, and Van Jones said, it's about race. He tries to downplay that it's not about race but we all know it is.
BOLDUAN: I'll tell you, I know there are many more players that are like this as you're noting, Donte, but Malcolm Jenkins is a perfect example of this. Putting his money and his time where his mouth is and giving his time to his community and trying to bring about the change he's protesting and speaking out about. They are allies and should be allies. That's a prefect way to say it, Donte.
Great to see you, Donte. Thank you so much.
Raul, Van, thank you, thank you, thank you, guys.
REYES: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it.
Be sure to catch "THE VAN JONES SHOW" this weekend, Saturday night, 7:00 Eastern. Van is sitting down with "SNL" star and somebody who is never short of opinions and who has a lot to say, Leslie Jones. It's a show of Joneses that I'll never be able to keep up with. And also, he's talking to voters in Georgia about that state's high-stakes governor's race. That's tomorrow night, 7:00 Eastern, only on CNN.
I really appreciate it.
[11:14:20] Coming up for us, why is the woman known as the Manhattan Madam testifying in front of Robert Mueller's grand jury? What does she know about Russian election interference? That's next.
BOLDUAN: The strange trial of Donald Trump's former campaign manager just got stranger. At the same time, Robert Mueller's investigation just took an unexpected turn.
First, in Washington today, the woman known as the Manhattan Madam is due to appear before a grand jury as part of the special counsel's Russia probe. Her name is Kristin Davis. She was once a staple of New York's gossip pages. What does she have to do with the 2016 election interference? Stand by for that.
And just outside Washington, prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case against former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, but not before more drama with the judge. This time, involving a noise machine.
Yes, we're covering both as they unfold this morning.
Let's begin with Paul Manafort's trial in Alexandria, Virginia.
CNN's Joe Johns is there.
Joe, court just started and what are we talks about a white noise machine for?
[11:19:45] JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: You know, I got to tell you, court started but it didn't really start. You can call it a non-start, Kate. They came in around 9:49 eastern time. It looked like it was going to be business as usual in the court of Judge T.S. Ellis. But there were just long bench conferences and essentially no movement. Now, just about half past 11:00 Eastern time, the judge has instructed the jury not to talk about the case and allowed them to leave. Said we'll start again later today. A long delay here in the courthouse. Not clear what all of that means. It could mean anything. Paul Manafort is in the courtroom. It's possible there could be anything from an issue with the juror to an issue with evidence. We'll wait the see when they reconvene this afternoon. That's one thing.
I think the other thing that you have to point out is there have been a number of long bench conferences, including one about -- other bench conference they had earlier in the trial. That's when Rick Gates got asked by defense counsel if he had a number of conversations with the Mueller team about the Trump campaign in 2016. An objection there. A long talk at the bench. They decided to seal or they requested the judge to seal the conversation at the bench because there were some current concerns that it has to do with the Mueller investigation. All a big mystery. They are trying to keep things away from the jury, out of earshot of the public. It's the way big trials of high stakes go sometimes -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Just as prosecutors are supposed to be wrapping up today. Let's see what happens.
Great to see you, Joe. Thanks so much.
BOLDUAN: Let's go to Washington where the Manhattan Madam faces the grand jury.
M.J. Lee is covering all of this for us.
M.J., why is Mueller interested in her?
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Kate, we don't know the answer to that. We know she will appear at this courthouse to testify before the grand jury. Last week, she was interviewed by Mueller investigators as well. We don't know the details of how that interview went. Keep in mind, she does have close relationship with Roger Stone, the former Trump advisor, who is also embroiled in the Mueller investigation.
LEE (voice-over): She's known as the Manhattan Madam. Kristin Davis testifying before a grand jury today. Investigators are interested in her tries to a longtime Trump advisor, Roger Stone. She and Stone have been close friends for decade.
In a statement, Stone told CNN last week, "Kristin Davis is a long- time friend and associate of mine. I'm the godfather to her 2-year- old son. She knows nothing about collusion, WikiLeaks collaboration, or any other impropriety related to the 2016 election, which I thought was the subject of this probe. I understand she appeared voluntarily. I'm highly confident she will testify truthfully if called upon to do so."
Davis once ran a high-end prostitution ring. She went to jail as part of the scandal surrounding then-Democratic New York governor, Eliot Spitzer.
ELIOT SPITZER, (D), FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: The remorse I feel will always be with me.
LEE: She's worked with Stone over the years. In late 2016, she joined his payroll to help him with clerical tasks.
Mueller's team has been looking into possible contacts between Stone and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, during the 2016 campaign.
U.S. intelligence concluded Russian intelligence hacked senior Democratic officials and provided the stolen materials to WikiLeaks as part of Moscow's effort to meddle in the election. Assange denies the hacked government came from the Russian government.
While Stone once bragged about being in contact with Assange --
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche he's gotten pertains to the Clinton Foundation but there's no telling what the October Surprise may be.
LEE: -- he later walked it back.
STONE: Yes, I followed Assange's Twitter feed. I have Google Alerts. I read every interview he gave. You can foreshadow what he's doing.
I'm not involved in any collusion or coordination or conspiracy with the Russians or anyone else. There's no evidence to the contrary.
LEE: Investigators have also been probing Stone's finances and his personal life. People familiar with the situation say at least two witnesses were asked whether Stone was the father of Davis' son.
Earlier this month, Stone posted a photo of Davis and her child to Instagram with the caption, "Why do FBI agents dispatched by Robert Mueller keep asking a number of my current and former associates if I'm this baby's father. What does this have to do with Russian collusion and the 2016 election?"
LEE: We don't know how extensive or how long the testimony will be today. Kate, this is just one more reminder that there's so much about Mueller investigation that we do not yet know -- Kate?
[11:24:52] BOLDUAN: Absolutely. That's exactly what I was thinking.
M.J., thank you so much. Appreciate it. Coming up for us, a federal judge erupting at the Trump administration, threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt, and ordering a plane to be turned around. Why? That's next.
[11:29:50] BOLDUAN: Is there anyone in Washington who is happy with Jeff Sessions at this point? I ask because we know President Trump is always one step away from firing him over the Mueller investigation. Now, a judge in D.C. is sounding off about the attorney general as well. Judge Emmet Sullivan has threatened to hold Sessions in contempt of court after learning two asylum seekers who were fighting deportation had been put on plane and sent back to El Salvador.