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Aretha Franklin's Funeral Celebration; John McCain Lies in State at Capitol Rotunda as Public Pays Respects; Steele To Ohr In Secret 2016 Meeting: Russia Has Trump "Over A Barrel"; Washington Lawyer a Frontrunner to Replace Don McGahn. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired August 31, 2018 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:30:00] SHIRLEY CAESAR, SINGER: I just have to believe that God grabs breath. When my mom breathed her last breath, when she let it go, God grabbed it. I want to say to the family, be not dismayed.
Whatever time is gone. Take care of you. I want to say to the family, I can't tell you not to cry because God knows how to take those tears, wash our misery away. I want to say to the grandchildren and the great grandchildren, Aretha lived a good life and I thank God she didn't die in disgrace.
[14:35:40] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Shirley Caesar, the queen of gospel, honoring her dear friend, the quin of soul
Coming up, Chaka Khan. Don't miss a beat.
We'll continue our special coverage here on CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Quick break. We'll be back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[14:40:23] KAREN MOORE, PAYING RESPECTS TO SENATOR MCCAIN: I wore the Senator's POW bracelet while he was imprisoned. I felt like I knew him. I had had a signed copy of his book, "Faith of Our Fathers."
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did you ever meet him?
MOORE: Never met him, but I felt like I knew him. He was an adoptive dad, adoptive parents. I felt the connection. Didn't always agree with him politically. I'm not a Republican or Democrat. I'm a New England Independent, but I respect the man. There was nobody adds heroic as he was. CHARLES WHITE (ph), PAYING RESPECTS TO SENATOR MCCAIN: The Republican
Party is going to have a future, they need to have peek like John McCain that, you know, represent civil rights, human rights and a decency.
DEBORAH ESCOBAR (ph), PAYING RESPECTS TO SENATOR MCCAIN: Mr. McCain stepped across the line. He found the most combative person to make an ally with to get stuff passed, to make our country better. You know, a lot of people are saying, courage. I mean, he's a war veteran and I'm getting goose bumps because of what he went through, but he took what he learned and his love of his country and moved it to help not only the state of Arizona, but our country, to let us get along. As everybody has been saying, now is the time to re-examine what we are doing as a nation.
RICK GRANADOS (ph), PAYING RESPECTS TO SENATOR MCCAIN: There are no men left like John McCain. This is a guy of valor, honesty, character. He did a lot for this country. I felt that it was important for me to pay my respects today, not only to honor him for the work he's done for the country, but as a former Navy man, I felt that it was a good thing for me to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: America honoring two legends today. We were just in Detroit. We'll take you back there for Chaka Khan honoring her friends, Ms. Aretha Franklin.
Look at this picture. These are live pictures at the capitol rotunda. Senator John McCain lying in state on Capitol Hill, a place he deeply impacted for nearly four decades. The public moving around behind the ropes, being allowed to pay their respects to this American hero, a leader and family man.
Earlier, under rainy skies, what a moment that was. Military guard carried the late Senator's flag-draped casket into the capitol rotunda. It wasn't raining until they brought it up the steps. With precision moves, they moved it inside the rotunda.
Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, there on the screen by that wreath, alongside minority leader, Chuck Schumer, both presenting the wreath there. A break in protocol. The request of John McCain. He wanted one final act of bipartisanship in his honor.
And in an emotional farewell, one by one, the members of the family, his widow, Cindy, and friends and colleagues approached to the coffin to say good-bye.
For more on the events honoring the Senator today, let's bring in our congressional correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty.
I's one thing to see his family there saying good-bye, but the lines, the lines of people in Washington wanting to have a moment there in the capitol rotunda is stunning.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. It is very moving. A cap of his very long career on Capitol Hill. This was a building and a career that he loved so much. I think we saw that reflected in all the very poignant and moving moments of the day. Of course, those Americans filtering through the capitol, continuing at this hour, will, for many, many hours. And the simple moment, the presence of his 106-year-old mother, Roberta McCain, who made her way up the Hill. We saw her comforting her granddaughter, Meghan McCain, handing her a tissue. And emotional when we saw her wheeled in her wheelchair and put her hand on his casket.
We saw a lot of emotion and respect paid from colleagues on Capitol Hill who worked for him so long, talking about the legacy he leaves behind, not only here on Capitol Hill, but to the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: John McCain deserves to be remembered as he wished to be remembered, a patriot who served his country, a man of the Senate, but also a man of the House. A Navy man. A family man. A man who made an enormous difference in the lives of countless people. A man of conviction. A man of state.
[14:45:17] MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In every generation, there are those who put country first, who pride service ahead of self, who summon idealism from a cynical age. John McCain was such a man. Today, he lies in the place where he served to the last, the Congress of the United States. Soon, he will go to rest on the grounds where he served first, the United States Naval Academy. The eyes of the American people will be upon him as he goes. And, so, too, will their prayers, for him, and especially for his beloved family, gathered here today.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Half a world away, wearing our nation's uniform, John McCain stood up for every value that this capitol building represents. Then he brought that same patriotism inside its walls to advocate for our servicemembers, our veterans, and our moral leadership in the world. So, it is only right that today, the end of his long journey, John lies here, in this great hall under this mighty dome, like other American heroes before him. Here, as a restless wave approaches the shores of eternity, we thank God for giving this country John McCain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: Those public speeches moving today. You saw the emotion on his family members faces. The speeches were given one by one.
I do, also, Brooke, want to highlight a private moment that played out behind the scenes. Cindy McCain, the wife of John McCain, accompanied Senator Lindsey Graham to the Senate floor, one of his closest friends in Congress, taking a last look at his desk, which was adorned by white roses. Senator Graham gave her two white roses to acknowledge what the McCain family gave for him serving in Congress -- Brooke?
BALDWIN: A beautiful thing.
Sunlen, thank you.
Just to remind everyone, this is Senator McCain, the 31st, only the 31st person to be honored by lying in state at the U.S. capitol. It shows the statesmanship he imbodied for so many years.
When we come back, we are going to pivot back to Detroit. Much more of Aretha Franklin's funeral celebration, including upcoming performances by Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson and Stevie Wonder. We'll be right back.
[14:52:41] BALDWIN: We will get you back here in full to the celebration honoring the life of Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul in Detroit, momentarily. We will once we see Chaka Khan take the podium.
But let me get some news in here. CNN is learning Russian intelligence officials believed they had then-Candidate Donald Trump, quote, "over a barrel," right before the 2016 election. That information came into Christopher Steele, the British national who authored the infamous dossier. These new details coming to light this week during testimony by Justice Department office, Bruce Ohr.
Let's go to our senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez.
Evan, tell me more.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Bruce Ohr, Brooke, has gotten a lot of attention from the president who said he wants to get rid of his security clearance saying he's surprised he is working at the Justice Department. We know more about his relationship with Christopher Steele. He testified several hours this past week to House members. In that temperature, he described how he had a breakfast with Christopher Steele, and during that breakfast is where Steele says he believed Russian intelligence thought they had then Candidate Trump over a barrel. We don't know more context to that comment. It does align with the dossier that Christopher Steele ended up producing. This is one reason why Bruce Ohr and Steele has been in the crosshairs of Donald Trump as president. He believes that, obviously, this is an investigation he calls a witch hunt and it all began with these men who, he believes, were concocting false stories about him.
BALDWIN: There's that.
Let me ask you about another story that broke today. We were talking how the president announced Don McGahn would be leaving after the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings. So, a possible replacement. You are hearing names?
[14:54:48] PEREZ: Right. Pat Cipollone, a Washington lawyer, who, it turns out, got to know the president pretty well. He is the front- runner for the job, the White House counsel's job once Don McGahn leaves. Cipollone is providing advice to the Trump legal team behind the scenes. It appears the president knows him and likes him. Emmet Flood, who also made his way into the White House to help with the Russia investigation efforts inside the White House, he's also a candidate for this job, Brooke. But, it appears Cipollone has the inside track to get this job once Don McGahn leaves in the next couple months.
BALDWIN: Evan Perez, thank you so much.
On this Friday afternoon, America honoring two legends, two patriots, two heroes. We have been toggling back where the late Senator John McCain is lying in state on Capitol Hill. You are now looking at pictures of Detroit, the celebration and memorial celebration of the queen of soul, Aretha Franklin. A performance by Chaka Khan coming up next. We'll be right back.
[14:59:48] BALDWIN: You are watching CNN on this Friday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me on this extraordinary day here.
The nation is honoring, remembering and celebrating the lives of two legends. Senator John McCain is lying in state at the nation's capital and people in Washington are lining up for blocks and blocks to salute his 60 years of service to this country.
And on the right side of your screen, in Detroit --