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Family, Friends, Colleagues Honor Senator John Mccain; Former Presidents Bush and Obama Give Eulogies; Bush Says Mccain Confronted Policy He Believed Were Unworthy; Obama Said John Called Us to be Bigger, Better; President Trump Not Invited, His Name Not Spoken; Several Trump Advisers Attended Mccain Funeral; Senator Will Be Buried Tomorrow at U.S. Naval Academy; Washington Lobbyist Samuel Patten Pleaded Guilty in Federal Court for Failing To Register as a Foreign Agent; Giuliani Said New Plea Has Nothing to dD With Trump. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired September 1, 2018 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: It is 7:00 Eastern. 4:00 in the afternoon out West. You are in the CNN Newsroom. Great to have you with us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. And today in the nation's capital, the life, the selfless service, and the American impact of one man celebrated and honored at the National Cathedral.

That man, the late U.S. Senator John McCain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Former U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents and lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle supporting, embracing the McCain family as they said farewell to the long-serving Senator and Vietnam war hero. Notice, simply not in the Cathedral today, in fact not even in the city was President Trump. He stayed away from the funeral because he was not invited. CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny is in Washington. Jeff?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Washington paid tribute and bid farewell to John McCain, an American patriot and politician. At the Washington National Cathedral, a living tableau of history, a who's who of leaders from all strides, assembling to say good-bye to a war hero and veteran Republican Senator.

McCain's daughter, Megan, overcome with grief and emotion throughout the week, spoke passionately about her father with a poignant and pointed message.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing, and who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who live lives of comfort and privilege.

ZELENY: Inside the soaring cathedral, it was the first of several references to President Trump and his own brand of politics her father reviled.

MEGHAN MCCAIN: The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again, because America was always great.

ZELENY: The funeral unfolded as a parting lesson in civility from McCain himself. To eulogize him, he invited two men who extinguished his own dreams for the White House. George W. Bush, who won a bitter primary fight in 2000 and Barack Obama who prevailed in 2008.

Amid moments of humor -

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: From trouble making plebe to Presidential candidate.

ZELENY: Praise for McCain's core beliefs.

BUSH: At various points throughout his long career, John confronted policies and practices that he believed were unworthy of his country. To the face of those in authority, John McCain would insist we are better than this. America is better than this.

ZELENY: But the personal tributes came at the sharp critique of today's tribal politics.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Trafficking in bombast and insult, and phony controversies and manufactured outrage. It's a politics that pretends to be brave and tough, but in fact is born of fear. John called on us to be bigger than that. He called on us to be better than that.

ZELENY: Despite deep differences over politics and policy, and Obama said there were many with McCain, he still fostered a sense of American unity.

OBAMA: When all was said and done, we were on the same team. We never doubted we were on the same team.

ZELENY: While President Trump's name was never spoken, his absence was an unmistakable undercurrent. McCain made it clear he didn't want him there. The two men's strained relationship goes back to the 2016 campaign when Trump insulted McCain's military service, saying real American heroes aren't shot down.

Yet several of the President's advisers were on hand, including his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Chief of Staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis. The Senator was sent off in scripture and song with opera star, Renee Fleming's gripping rendition of "Danny Boy."

RENEE FLEMING, OPERA STAR: Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling...

ZELENY: He'll be laid to rest Sunday in a private ceremony at his alma matter, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: Now the Senator's final resting place will be on a grassy hill at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery next to a lifelong friend, Chuck Larson, another veteran of the Vietnam war.

Now Senator McCain selected this out of the way spot in the shadow of navy midshipman like he once was, rather than Arlington National Cemetery where his father and grandfather, both Admirals, are buried. Ana?

CABRERA: Jeff Zeleny, thank you for that report. Joining us now is the editor of "The Weekly Standard" and a former Republican strategist, Bill Kristol. Bill is also a Foreign Policy Adviser to John McCain's 2008 campaign. Bill, good to have you with us.

I know it's been a long day for you personally, for everybody in Washington. McCain knew this was coming. He planned his own funeral. What do you think he would have thought about today's ceremony?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think he would have enjoyed it and appreciated it. He would have - probably been -- had a little of sense of irony of maybe at times, jeez, this is going on a little long.

I mean, it was almost three hours. But honestly, I was moved in almost every minute of it, and it was really a wonderful ceremony. I mean, in addition to the tributes to McCain and people's memories of McCain himself, you had the Marine Corps, a band and the Navy Choir and the National Cathedral choir, and Renee Fleming singing "Danny Boy" and wonderful talks.

I mean really you felt good about America sitting there honestly. This is a country that has -- can appropriately honor the best among us, those who have served the country so valiantly and so well.

And then I remember I thought as I was watching the speakers; you had Joe Lieberman, first in his family ever to go to college, the grandson of poor immigrants; Henry Kissinger who fled as a teenager with his parents from the Nazis; George W. Bush, kind of the other side of the spectrum you might say, the son of a President from a distinguished family obviously; and Barack Obama, the African American son of a single mother basically and raised by her and by his grandparents.

You thought, you know, this is America. Right? And that's pretty amazing. These four people rise to the top along with John McCain, different points of view. Different backgrounds, all honoring John McCain and honoring the country, really.

CABRERA: Yes. And notably not there to honor John McCain, President Trump and his name of course never mentioned. But as you just heard, there were many references to him. Certainly the decision not to invite the sitting President of the United States was going to make Trump an issue. Were you comfortable with the degree of politics played a part in today's ceremony?

KRISTOL: Yes, I mean I think it was politics in the best sense. I mean, it was an appeal to the veterans (ph) of our nature, an appeal to the best of our traditions. Maybe in a little bit of a sentimental way, that's what you would expect at a funeral honoring someone like John McCain, but in a real way. I mean, I really felt sitting there and I talked to many, many people,

former staffers of McCain, people who have worked with him, people who worked on the other side. You know, not so much the former Presidents but the actual people who knew McCain in so many ways.

And I think they all felt, this was a bit of a call to the country not in a narrow political sense, but in a sense to rise above maybe the current moment and do better for our country. And I hope some of the Senators and Congressmen who were there, some of the other people who were there will rise to the occasion, honestly.

CABRERA: Former Senator Joe Lieberman today remembering one of Senator McCain's final iconic moments, casting that decisive vote against President Trump's plan to repeal Obamacare. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE LIEBERMAN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: That speech made clear that his vote was not really against that bill but against the mindless partisanship that has taken control of both of our political parties and our government and produced totally one-sided responses to complicated national problems like health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Though President Trump has made clear that he views this moment of that thumbs down on the Senate floor as betrayal of the Republican party, not bipartisanship, how do you think history will judge it?

KRISTOL: I think it will judge it, I think Senator McCain did what he thought was the right thing. And I mean people can have different views on health care policy and how much was given up by not passing that particular version of legislation. But I thought it was John McCain doing what he thought was right, and it deserves to be respected and not mocked, the way the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue does.

Joe Lieberman also was terrific. I think his speech was - if you were there, at least it had anecdotes, it was a little more personal perhaps than the others and funnier, and he told a funny story. McCain, of course was a very witty man, and Lieberman was both the butt of his humor occasionally, as Lieberman made sure made clear and also he's a witty man.

And there was a kind of - I mean, that was another thing where we're being serious as we should be today, but the high spirits with which McCain engaged in politics and public life is also something we've forgotten. Not everything has to be bitter or dead serious and solemn.

McCain had a real joie de vivre, real kind of sense of enjoyment of politics and what he - he was serious about obviously the country, serious about helping dissidents abroad, standing up for liberties, took that stuff deadly seriously. So I don't need to imply anything but that. But he also combined it, this is pretty unusual, really kind of amazing. He combined it with a real sense, a real love of life and of the joy of politics.

CABRERA: We definitely got that from not just Joe Lieberman, but the other speakers too, that he was serious and you could disagree and you could have epic battles on policy, on different positions and yet, you could still be friends with this guy, because it was never taken too personally. You talked about the bipartisanship that McCain represented also his ability to really cut through that atmosphere of polarized politics.

After this week of reflection, do you think it will spark change, McCain's death, or will it go back to business as usual?

KRISTOL: That's a huge question. And we talked, a lot of us were just milling around after as you can imagine standing outside the National Cathedral. And it was really one of the main topics of the conversation. I mean will this change the mood a little bit? Will it inspire people?

I think it will, ultimately John McCain's life will inspire people, younger people especially, give them a different vision. Whether it will inspire people in the here and now as we come out of Labor Day weekend into an election campaign and with everything going back and forth?

Maybe that's a tougher question, but I really think, I guess maybe I wouldn't mind kidding myself, I think the country would respond to the kinds of appeals, the kind of politics we heard discussed today, and I hope some Senators, Congressmen, candidates, others step up and offer that alternative.

You don't have to be John McCain. John McCain was an incredible hero. He went through things that none of us - well, it was none of us, thank God, have had to go through and he not only survived them, endured them, but prevailed. And then he had an amazing public career. And none of us can be John McCain perhaps, but we can take parts of John McCain's legacy and advance them, whether it's bipartisanship at home, or standing up for liberty abroad or just being an admirable public figure as McCain was. So I hope it has some effect, yes.

CABRERA: I mean, could it be a moment of reckoning for the Republican Party? Your party, will they have to choose between being the party of John McCain or the party of Donald Trump?

KRISTOL: I think they have had to -- they've made that choice in a bad way honestly for the last couple of years, if I can put it that way. But there's time to recover, I think, and not to erase what's happened. But yes, two years isn't that long in the big span of things and I think McCain really offers an alternate way forward.

CABRERA: Bill Kristol, thank you very much. Good to have you with us.

KRISTOL: Thanks Ana.

CABRERA: The eyes of the nation are on Senator McCain's family this week and as they mourn the loss of the family patriarch and American patriot. Cindy McCain tweeted this photo of the family saluting the Senator's flag draped coffin and she wrote these touching words. "Today we lost our hero, our friend, our mentor, our father, our grandfather, and our husband. Together we mourn and together we go on."

They waited in long lines in the summer heat to pay their final respects to John McCain. We'll show you how everyday Americans said their good-byes. And remembering one of their own members of the American Legion hail McCain's service, while dishing out some advice for the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCHMAN: Do you think, though, that President Trump was disrespectful to John McCain, particularly in his dying days?

GLENN WHITAKER, AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER: Yes. Yes.

TUCHMAN: How did that make you feel as a veteran, as someone who's wounded for this country?

WHITAKER: Hurt because we are family.

TEXT: JOHN MCCAIN: Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: They came to celebrate the life of Senator and American hero John McCain amid all the powerful and once powerful who gathered today at the National Cathedral in Washington for McCain's funeral. There was this moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLEMING: I love him so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: During the performance of one of McCain's favorite songs "Danny Boy" when his wife Cindy tearfully leaned on her son's Jack's shoulder. This is a reminder of a wife's personal loss. CNN's Ryan Nobles walks us through today's service, which for some was as much a call to arms as it was a eulogy.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, no doubt this was a solemn tribute for John McCain here at the Washington National Cathedral. A man who especially here in Washington has become a larger than life figure. There were a number of things I was struck by.

First, obviously there were a lot of important people that were inside the cathedral. These were people that were specifically invited to the service by the McCain family.

But as you look along Wisconsin Avenue, just outside of the Washington National Cathedral, you saw average Americans lining up, peeking through the fence, hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the ceremony and many of them paying their respects as Senator McCain's hearse made its way through Washington D.C.

Obviously there were some powerful and moving tributes that came from Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, we had both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush who gave lasting tributes. And you saw, this was an event that was, no doubt, planned second by second by Senator McCain before his passing, and there were themes that he wanted to hit on.

Clearly themes of bipartisanship, putting country before self, and of course, selfless sacrifice. And let's talk about that crowd, there were a lot of important people here, dignitaries from all walks of life, politicians from both sides of the aisle.

People like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, the former Vice President was here, John Kerry, the former Secretary of State. And there were some celebrities, Jay Leno, the talk show host, and of course, Dikembe Mutombo, the basketball star among many athletes who were in attendance.

This has been a lengthy memorial in honor of John McCain's life, a celebration really, and it will finally come to an end on Sunday. That's when his body is taken to Annapolis, where he will be laid to rest at his beloved Naval Academy. So, much more to come on the life of John McCain, of this fitting tribute that he personally planned playing out probably exactly as he hoped. Ana?

CABRERA: Ryan Nobles, thank you. Earlier, I had a chance to speak with former U.S. Senator, Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who served alongside Senator McCain on the Senate Armed Forces Committee and he counted him among John McCain's friends.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAXBY CHAMBLISS, FORMER SENATOR, GEORGIA: Nobody would ever agree with John on everything or to have John agree with you.

But that's why John was such a great member of the United States Senate. It's supposed to be the world's most deliberative body. And we for the most part have to act in bipartisan ways and John epitomized that.

My travels with John were to Iraq and Afghanistan and theater in the heat of battle where John was so well-respected, because he loved those men and women that represent the United States in times of conflict like this. And for John to be able to go into theater and look those men and women in the eye and say thanks for what you're doing was pure joy to him. So, I enjoyed my visits with him in theater.

But also, I travelled the world with him many number of times, and John McCain was just so well recognized, number one, as a true United States statesman and a great symbol of America, and he was so well respected by leaders all around the world. Didn't make any difference what their politics were or what their thoughts were on some issues, where John might disagree and may have made some comments about it. But John was just so well thought of and so well respected in every corner of the world.

CABRERA: And that was made even more clear when you look at the guest list for his services, where you have leaders and representatives of administrations from countries all around the world who wanted to come and pay tribute to this man, this lion of a man.

You are quick to point out John McCain was hugely respected in the U.S. military circles, and the reasons are obvious. Obviously, his own personal story is so amazing. You call it inspirational when you saw people interact with him. Tell us more about a time, if you have a memory where you saw that respected and you were inspired by it.

CHAMBLISS: Well, any time John hit the ground in a theater where we're in a conflict, John was immediately surrounded by young men and women who were wearing uniform, who were putting their life in harm's way exactly like John did. He knew the sacrifice they were making.

They knew the sacrifices that John McCain had made, so there was just a natural bond between John McCain and the military personnel that were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. John used to make a habit of going on particular and special times of the year like Thanksgiving.

I spent several Thanksgivings with John, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and he delighted in being able to have three or four different Thanksgiving dinners with troops in different parts of those respective countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: My thanks to the former U.S. Senator, Saxby Chambliss again, who served alongside John McCain in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

To the Russia investigation next and a battle now brewing between a former Trump Foreign Policy Adviser and Jeff Sessions, the AG, after new testimony directly contradicts the Attorney General. Details next.

You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Another week, another plea deal. This time a lobbyist admits he funneled money from a Ukrainian oligarch into one of Trump's political events.

CNN Justice Correspondent Evan Perez has more.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Washington lobbyist Samuel Patten pleaded guilty in Federal Court for failing to register as a foreign agent.

Prosecutors say that Patten was paid more than a million dollars for working with a Ukrainian political party that is aligned with Russia. As was part of his plea deal, Patten admits to helping to funnel money

from a Ukrainian oligarch to Donald Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee. The case began as part of the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who referred it to the U.S. Attorney's office in Washington D.C.

Now, under federal law, it's illegal for foreigners to donate to an Inaugural Committee. So Patten got around the law by having someone else spend $50,000 on four tickets to the Trump inauguration, and the Ukrainian reimbursed the money. Now, we've known for some time that Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses about possible illegal foreign donations to the Trump campaign and the inauguration.

But the Patten plea deal is the first public indication about that line of inquiry. President Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says that the plea deal has nothing to do with President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: It turned out to be just an irrelevant indictment, where I think Mueller has turned into the private prosecutor. I mean, what does this have to do with President Trump? Not a single thing. It has nothing to do with collusion.

Some guy who donated to the inauguration? My goodness, there are about 500,000 people that donated to President Trump. Every time they get a speeding ticket, the Special Prosecutor is going to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PEREZ: Now as part of the plea agreement, Patten has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Now that would include any requests made by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.

CABRERA: Joining us now is CNN legal analyst, Shan Wu. Shan is a former federal prosecutor, now defense attorney. Shan, good to have you with us tonight. Essentially, Patten has admitted he funneled that money from a Ukrainian oligarch into Donald Trump's inaugural committee.

Can Giuliani credibly say this has nothing to do with the President?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely not. He cannot credibly say that and it's rather unclear to me what he meant by Mueller as being a private prosecutor. I'm not sure what he means by that. But what this shows is that the connections to Russia continue to be revealed. And of course they've been revealed to the Special Counsel quite some time ago, but we're only getting it in drips and drabs.

And although it's not necessarily even circumstantial evidence that the President was involved in some type of collusion, certainly the atmospherics show that there's very good cause to be investigating these areas to probe exactly just how -- to what extent there was Russian collusion in terms of other people in the campaign and in terms of the Russian efforts to affect the campaign and election.

CABRERA: Patten has agreed now to cooperate with Robert Mueller. Why would Mueller want or need his cooperation?

WU: Well, he is going to be somebody who can give them more information about the way that the Russians were trying to interact with people, the way they were trying to influence people. And it's interesting, when you think about the mindset of co-operators -- when I've had clients who want to cooperate, they usually don't start out wanting to cooperate.

There's a strong sense of denial, of being angry at being asked as many questions. And what's important with Patten situation here is, we're seeing it kind of at the tail end where we're expecting all this cooperation. We're going to learn more.

It's important to know that long before he reaches a plea deal, there's extensive cooperation. There's the briefings, there's proffers by his lawyer. So, at this point, everything that he may have as relevant is already known to the government. So, they're already following up leads on that to see where it may take them and how valuable it may be.

CABRERA: I want to turn to another plea deal. George Papadopoulos, we now know what he told investigators. According to court documents that were filed just last night, here's what Papadopoulos says happened after he pitched setting up a meeting between then candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin.

And I quote here, he says, "Well, some in the room rebuffed George's offer." This is what his defense attorney writes, "Mr. Trump nodded with approval and deferred to Mr. Sessions, who appeared to like the idea and stated that the campaign should look into it."

Shan, is this a problem now for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, because he had previously said under oath that he pushed back on this idea?

WU: It certainly seems to be a -- potentially a big problem for him. I have to say that it certainly strikes us now that it's preposterous that Trump thinks Sessions should not have recused himself from the investigation.

I mean clearly, he's an important witness and now there's a credibility problem with him. He might have to lawyer up. Yes, you might be able to say that his recollection was fuzzy. I mean in his original testimony he was trying to be a little ambiguous about things as well. But this certainly raises the question as to whether he himself was being truthful and whether he might end up being a target of a false statements allegation.

CABRERA: The President's already been attacking Sessions and then he told Bloomberg that Sessions' job is at least safe until the midterms. But this contradiction now, based on the filing by Papadopoulos' team, could give President Trump more ammo I suppose in his desire to get rid of Sessions.

WU: I think it does give him more ammo. He could now claim that perhaps Sessions is a liar, that Sessions wasn't telling the truth. He certainly is not going to want to agree with this characterization that anyone on his team was anxious for this meeting, much less than he was anxious for it.

And frankly, you know of course Trump has not testified, so he right now doesn't face any type of false statements situation. But Sessions has, and that's clearly a contradictory version of the way that Sessions has been trying to portray things. So, I think that is quite problematic for him.

CABRERA: Let me ask you about Don McGahn, White House Counsel, now we're told is exiting. Of course, this comes after his 30 hour or so meetings with the Special Counsel, which the President has tweeted had nothing to do with him now leaving the White House. What's your take on his exit?

WU: His exit -- certainly he has not been very happy there. It seems like he's been rather ostracized and sort of exiled to Siberia in the White House. The damage he may have done in terms of revealing things is really enormous. Because in some ways, it's actually worse than having Trump himself sit down with Mueller, is having a White House Counsel sit with him, because he has raw unfiltered access to what the President was thinking.

The President would have been talking to him, musing out loud, asking his advice where the things were right or wrong. So, his type of testimony is really, really damaging, and 30 hours is just an enormous amount of time and it's really unclear whether people were just asleep at the switch, having him walk in to do that.

I mean, if he were my client, I would have spent double that time just preparing him to go in for that. And you know, it's just unclear if they even knew that he was going in there. You kind of think of a kid saying, "Oh I'm going to do some work after school," and instead he sneaks off with Robert Mueller for a cigarette, and the parents Rudy Giuliani and company didn't even know what he was up to.

I mean I think the idea now that they can claim they are certain he did no damage is just preposterous. They had no idea what he actually said and he leaves the White House really in the dark as to what was conveyed during his 30 hours' worth of interviews.

CABRERA: Shan Wu, good to have you with us, thanks so much for taking the time.

WU: Good to see you, thanks.

CABRERA: It was a funeral service for a Queen. Friends, family, fans gathering to remember the life and legacy of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC) CABRERA: Powerhouse Jennifer Hudson singing Amazing Grace at the funeral of the legendary Aretha Franklin. As the same tune and title of Franklin's double platinum album, which helped to ascend the Queen of Soul into an untouchable musical stratosphere.

The star-studded sendoff for Franklin yesterday in her hometown of Detroit was meaningful in message and music.

My colleague Fredricka Whitfield was there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, ANCHOR, CNN NEWSROOM: Home-going fit for a Queen. Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

Gospel praise from Detroit's Grammy winning Clark Sisters to an Aretha classic performed by pop princess Ariana Grande.

(MUSIC)

Two weeks after her passing of pancreatic cancer, the 76-year-old in a gold-plated casket was celebrated as an artist, friend, icon, and inspiration.

SMOKEY ROBINSON, SINGER: I've been watching the celebration of your life from everywhere. The world is going to miss you, and I know that I'm going to miss you so much, because I miss our talks. It's really going to be different without you.

WHITFIELD: Love and respect from the highest notes--

(SINGING)

WHITFIELD: --to the highest elected public office.

BILL CLINTON, 42ND U.S. PRESIDENT: We started out as like Aretha groupies or something.

WHITFIELD: --former President Bill Clinton.

CLINTON: She lived with courage, not without fear, but overcoming her fears.

(APPLAUSE)

She lived with faith, not without failure, but overcoming her failures. She lived with power, not without weakness, but overcoming her weaknesses. I just loved her.

WHITFIELD: From former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: She was always ours. There has never been, there will never be another voice melded to the consummate artistry that was Ms. Aretha Franklin. WHITFIELD: Never considering herself political, she was a favorite inauguration fixture to three Presidents spanning 30 years. As a young woman, she lent her artistry to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s cause, later tearfully singing at his funeral.

(MUSIC)

A recipient of the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, for her song "Respect" considered an anthem of the civil rights movement and women's advocacy.

(MUSIC)

At her Detroit service, in the Greater Grace Temple, power voices. Chaka Khan, and Jennifer Hudson, and sentiments from the youngest members of the Franklin family, awestruck and grateful.

VICTORIE FRANKLIN, GRANDDAUGHTER OF ARETHA FRANKLIN: As a kid, I couldn't understand what it was like to be Aretha Franklin's granddaughter. I didn't know what that meant. But now I know what it feels like, that I have that running through my blood, and now she's a part of who I am.

CRISTAL FRANKLIN, ARETHA FRANKLIN'S NIECE: I want to thank everyone who bought her album, who bought her concert ticket. I want to thank everyone who ever took a picture of my aunt.

JORDAN FRANKLIN, GRANDSON OF ARETHA FRANKLIN: You show the world God's love, and there's nothing more honorable.

WHITFIELD: In this nearly eight-hour farewell, fans and friends remembering and rejoicing the heart of Detroit and the soul of a nation.

CLIVE DAVIS, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICE, SONY MUSIC: Aretha's voice will be heard, Aretha's voice will be impacting, Aretha's voice will be influencing others literally for centuries to come.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: A beautiful service for the Queen of Soul. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: President Trump was not invited to Senator John McCain's memorial services. Earlier, I spoke with former Senate Majority Leader and World War II veteran Bob Dole. And I asked him what the President should learn from the life and legacy of Senator McCain. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB DOLE, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, the President Trump made a mistake at one of the debates when he said John McCain is not a hero. He's the only one American probably who thought that way. But - and John didn't want him to come to the funeral, so he said nice things, but stayed away.

CABRERA: Lackluster, half-hearted, outrageous, those were some of the words used to describe President Trump's initial response to the death of John McCain. And now, The Veterans Group, credited with getting the President to re-lower the flags at the White House in McCain's honor, is speaking out again.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY TUCHMAN, REPORTER, CNN: There are nearly two million members of the American Legion. One of those members was Senator John McCain.

DON FLOYD, AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER: I think John McCain was one of the greatest heroes this country has ever seen.

TUCHMAN: Here in Minneapolis, at the 100th Annual American Legion Convention, you hear that sentiment over and over again from these wartime veterans, who in many if not most cases, voted for and support President Donald Trump.

Glenn Whitaker is an Army veteran, seriously wounded at Fort Benning, Georgia in a grenade blast during the Vietnam War era. He strongly supports the President.

Do you think though that President Trump was disrespectful to John McCain, particularly in his dying days?

GLENN WHITAKER, AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER: Yes.

TUCHMAN: And how did that make you feel as a veteran or someone who's wounded for this country?

WHITAKER: Because we are family.

TUCHMAN: Many of the veterans here are emotionally pained by how a President, who they for the most part admire, acted towards John McCain.

Who here believes that John McCain was a hero?

Does anyone believe he wasn't a hero? No hands.

So when you heard President Trump say he wasn't a hero, because he doesn't believe that people who are captured are heroes, was that insulting? How did that make you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's ridiculous. I mean they paid more than we did.

JERRY TARQUINIO, AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER: Jerry Tarquinio from Illinois served in the Army in Vietnam. TUCHMAN: You supported Donald Trump for President. You believe John McCain's a hero. If you could talk to the President about the way he acted towards John McCain while he was alive and the way he's now acting while he's passed away, what would you say to him?

TARQUINIO: I'd tell him that it was very disrespectful for that and I don't agree with it.

TUCHMAN: American Legion members were so upset by the President's behavior following Senator McCain's death that the organization released a statement urging the President to make an appropriate Presidential proclamation, noting Senator McCain's death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation's flag be half-staff through his interment.

Marine veteran Joe Plenzler is the Legion's National Director of Media Relations.

JOE PLENZLER, AMERICAN LEGION'S NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF MEDIA RELATIONS: I mean I think we're really measured in our statement and it was a request to the Commander in Chief saying, "Hey this is a long-standing tradition. Direct your attention back to what's been done in the past and we ask that you follow tradition."

TUCHMAN: Anna Brown knows tradition. The World War II Marine Corps Women's Reserve member has now been alive for 94 of these American Legion conventions. She voted for Donald Trump.

If you had a few seconds with him, what would you say?

ANNA BROWN, AMERICAN LEGION MEMBER: Well maybe I would say, yes I don't like the way he treated him. But you know it's been done -- what's been done has been done, and there's nothing I can do about it to change that.

TUCHMAN: Does that make you sad?

BROWN: I mean he should be -- maybe he should apologize there. Yes, makes me sad.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Minneapolis.

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CABRERA: And now a sweet moment, illustrating the lighter side of bipartisanship, former President George W. Bush sneaking a piece of candy there to Michelle Obama during today's service for the late Senator John McCain.

The former First Lady taking that candy and whispers thank you. And look at the smile there on President Obama's face.

Bush and Michelle Obama may seem like perhaps an unlikely friendship pairing, but their special bond actually dates back years. The two are often seated next to each other at formal events. Well, they were no question his greatest political rivals, but they were also the two people John McCain wanted to tell his life story. Just ahead, the remarks of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. Stay with us, you're live in the CNN Newsroom.

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RUTH BADER GINSBURG, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have had the great good fortune to share life with a partner truly extraordinary for his generation, a man who believed at age 18, when we met that a woman's work, whether at home or on the job, is as important as a man's.

I became a lawyer in days when women were not wanted by most members of the legal profession. I became a lawyer because more he supported that choice unreservedly.

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