Return to Transcripts main page
Family, Friends Hold Private Burial for Senator McCain at Naval Academy; Arizona Governor to Pick Senator McCain's Replacement; Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation Hearings Set to Begin Tuesday; Parishioner Yells at D.C. Cardinal Wuerl During Mass; Aired 2-3p ET
Aired September 2, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] ZAKARIA: Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Right now Senator John McCain's family and close inner circle of friends are saying their final good-byes after a week of public mourning in celebration of the senator's life. The private memorial and burial is happening right now at the U.S. Naval Academy at the request of McCain himself.
And you can see his motorcade arriving just moments ago. The streets were lined with people waving American flags. His final resting place is right next to his longtime friend and Naval classmate, Admiral Chuck Larson. McCain talked about this decision before his death in his book "The Restless Wave."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R) ARIZONA: And then take my leave bound for a place near my old friend Chuck Larson in the cemetery on Severn back where it began.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: In fact it was a pact the two men made decades ago. A true testament to the senator's loyalty and pride in his roots. Chuck Larson's wife telling CNN Chuck has his wing man back now.
CNN's Brian Todd is outside the U.S. Naval Academy where we saw the streets were lined off to Annapolis right to the entrance of the academy there for people who are also paying their final respects in what is now however a private ceremony, right?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. It is a private closed ceremony. The media is not allowed in, the public is not allowed in, but that didn't stop hundreds of people from coming here.
It's a very emotional day here in Annapolis, Maryland. This is the final leg of John McCain's incredible journey and the final of the five days of his sendoff to the American people and so hundreds of people felt compelled to come out here and line the streets as you mentioned to the gate leading up to the Naval Academy.
People were even on overpasses that we saw on Route 50, the main highway leading from Washington to Annapolis that goes east out of Washington, D.C. They were lining up on overpasses, there were fire trucks on overpasses, so it's just a lot of people really feeling compelled to pay their final respects to John McCain.
We got a chance to talk to two of those who showed up today just outside the gates. Robert Najewicz and Nia Wright. Here's what they had to say about why they wanted to come here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIA WRIGHT, REFLECTING ON SENATOR MCCAIN'S LIFE AND LEGACY: As an African-American, I really want to say thank you for him taking a stand all men are created equal and he meant that, he lived that his entire life, and I want to make sure that I say thank you.
ROBERT NAJEWICZ, REFLECTING ON SENATOR MCCAIN'S LIFE AND LEGACY: As a Democrat I've always liked John McCain. I didn't agree with all of his politics but I liked him. And he was a pretty honest person. And I'd like to see the politics go back the way it used to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now as we stand here, there is a private ceremony going on inside the chapel on the grounds of the Naval Academy. Tributes are being given to John McCain by his longtime friend Senator Lindsey Graham, by his son Jack McCain, by General David Petraeus, the former CIA director and commander of U.S. Central Command in Iraq, some very powerful and compelling figures giving tributes to John McCain as we speak.
And in a couple of hours, Fredricka, a very emotional symbolism will take place as the ceremony ends and as they go to the cemetery, the flyover, the missing man formation flyover will occur at about 4:00 Eastern Time. A very emotional moment and maybe the final moment that we're going to be remembering John McCain by.
WHITFIELD: Yes. That is a powerful moment that happens at ceremonies of this caliber. Thank you so much, Brian Todd. Appreciate it.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is giving that tribute to his best friend John McCain right now at that private service that Brian was telling us about. McCain's daughter Meghan calling both Graham and former Senator Lieberman her uncles forever.
Listen to what Graham and Lieberman said earlier today about Meghan's emotional tribute to her father yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: She is her father's daughter. If you say something bad about her dad you will know it, whether you're the janitor or the president of the United States. She is grieving for the father she adored and I think most Americans understand that and I am just so proud of the young lady she has become.
JOE LIEBERMAN (I), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: She's grieving and yet by the nature of his life, she's called on to make a very public, global statement. Very hard. But she did it and she did it magnificently and she did it the way her dad would want her to do it. And you know what, she didn't -- she was direct with the way John was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Joining me right now, retired Rear Admiral John Kirby.
You and Senator McCain both have strong ties to the Navy. He wrote your son a moving letter, one that I know you both will never, you know, forget.
[14:05:07] How are you remembering the life of John McCain?
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think I'm trying to remember him the same way that most of America is right now, Fred, as a man of honor and dignity, and great character, a man who put his country first and who knew what the cost of that was, and he knew in a personal way that certainly I could never know and so many of us, even many veterans, could never know what he went through in the Vietnam War.
He was honest. He was candid. He was forthright. He could be brutal. But he was always, always it seemed to me to be putting the country's needs first before his own and often the country's needs first before his own party.
WHITFIELD: You know, McCain being -- and this was his request, being buried next to his Naval Academy best friend, you know, something the two men agreed upon 20 years ago.
WHITFIELD: To be side by side at the U.S. Naval Academy, express to us the significance of that, that kind of close tie, you know, forever with the Naval Academy and why this is the more fitting final resting place for him.
KIRBY: You know, I never got to go to the Naval Academy. I applied and didn't get in. But I certainly have served with many Naval Academy graduates and I had the chance to teach history there a little bit, boy, back in the early '90s. And the place has a very special feel to it. And oftentimes when young midshipmen are going through the academy, they don't like it much, they can't wait to get out.
You'll hear them rousing and complaining. But boy, it doesn't take very long once they hit the fleet for them to look back fondly on what the academy meant to them, what it did for them, the great start it gave them. And I think that Senator McCain wanting to be buried there next to Chuck Larson says two things. One, how special the Naval Academy was to him as well, but also how special that friendship was with Chuck Larson, wanting to be buried next to a shipmate when he could have been buried at Arlington with his father and his grandfather, both four-star admirals. But he chose the Naval Academy. I think it just speaks volumes of what that place meant to him.
WHITFIELD: But similar to what would happen at Arlington National Cemetery, my dad is buried there and earned that flyover, there will be a flyover taking place for McCain. Express the significance of that, the importance of it, and the meaning behind it.
KIRBY: You know, in the Navy, Fred, it's kind of in our DNA to learn to say good-bye. To learn to say farewell. Because from the moment you join the Navy you're going to see and it means you're going to say good-bye to family, friends, your hometown and then when you come home you're going to say good-bye to allies and partners and shipmates that you served with overseas. It's just part of who we are.
Today is the final farewell that the Navy gets to give and to bid to John McCain. And so it will be full of pomp and circumstance as our tradition holds and part of that is of course the Missing Man Flyover which is really reserved for those in aviation and of course he was a combat pilot. That Missing Man formation is -- boy, it just gets the hairs right up on the back of your neck to stand up when you see that one aircraft take off and advance in altitude and head to the heavens and let the other three keep going. It's a -- again, it's just kind of part of who we are in the Navy about saying good-bye.
WHITFIELD: It is powerful. It offers a certain finality but at the same time there is a peace that comes with that.
All right. Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, thank you so much.
KIRBY: You bet. Thank you.
WHITFIELD: So the important task now of appointing someone to fill John McCain's Senate seat. Everyone knows his shoes will never be filled but how about that U.S. Senate seat. Well, that process is just beginning. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will be in charge of selecting a temporary successor and the stakes are high with confirmation hearings getting under way this week for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the hearings.
Republicans currently hold a very slim majority in the U.S. Senate. McCain's replacement would give the GOP a razor thin 51-49 edge. If Democrats unite against Kavanaugh Republicans could need every vote that they can get. Not only for the U.S. Supreme Court confirmation, but for other votes before the 2016 -- 2018 midterms.
All right. With me now is Eric Bradner, a CNN Politics reporter.
All right, Eric, so, you know, there's a lot of pressure on the Arizona governor, right, to make a decision. What's the criteria, you know, that he would be weighing in order to find a successor, someone to fill this seat temporarily?
ERIC BRADNER, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. There's absolutely a lot of pressure and it's kind of coming from three directions, right. President Trump obviously wants someone who is going to be a reliable vote in the Senate, kind of a departure from a John McCain or a Jeff Flake, whereas the McCain family is likely to want someone sort of in his maverick shoes, and then the third element here is --
WHITFIELD: Do you think there would be that consultation even with the family?
[14:10:02] BRADNER: Well, it seems likely that the governor is going to at least want someone who the family would be happy with, would be on board with. He won't want to alienate them or hurt feelings by choosing someone who they see is an unworthy successor. That's why there's some talk of perhaps a -- someone who would fill the seat until 2020 when there would be a special election but would not run for election, potentially Senator John Kyle, or former senator, who might take the role for a couple of years or a former congressman or something like that.
But the governor is up for re-election this year, too, and he knows Arizona Republicans, the people he needs to turn out, as his base, are paying really close attention to this, too, and have high expectations. So it's a lot of pressure from a lot of different directions that he has to balance here.
WHITFIELD: So, Eric, while the family then, you know, you're saying, is being consulted, what about any considerations being made by John McCain's wife Cindy or even particularly post that eulogy from daughter Meghan McCain yesterday, don't know if she's still a resident of Arizona or if it would matter in this case, whether keeping it in the family is at all a possibility?
BRADNER: It seems like a remote possibility. There's been talk about Cindy McCain certainly, but the problem is, again, Arizona Republicans, sort of the irony here of the last week as the nation mourns John McCain and sees him as a hero and a patriot, Arizona Republicans have actually been shifting away from his politics. They've been turned off by McCain and Senator Jeff Flake who this year is retiring rather than running for re-election in part because he's broken from President Trump so often.
Arizona Republicans are demanding someone who would be much more loyal to the president and so that's sort of a departure from the McCain family and a lot of McCain's political circle including people like Grant Woods, the former McCain chief of staff who delivered a really moving eulogy as well. So that's -- it's tough to see the governor pleasing Arizona Republicans by picking someone --
WHITFIELD: I was going to say that's quite the task for the governor to placate both points of view.
BRADNER: It is, absolutely. It is. And that's why he's looking at some people he has appointed to state offices. There are a couple of women, Eileen Klein, the state treasurer, and Karyn Taylor Robinson, a wealthy developer who he appointed to the State Board of Regents, who might be picked that could sort of thread that needle who would be acceptable to everyone and to all of the competing interests. But it's tough. And the governor has told his aides, his advisers, not to talk about this until McCain is laid to rest. So there's not a lot of information that has really been leaking out the last few days in part because the governor wants it to be all about McCain and to save the speculation for the next few days.
WHITFIELD: Well, so after this Labor Day weekend, all things could change significantly.
Eric Bradner, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
BRADNER: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Meantime, also after this holiday weekend, something big gets under way in Washington. The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee and that begins on Tuesday. The White House says it is holding back more than 100,000 pages, in fact, of documents related to his time as a lawyer in George W. Bush's administration. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer calls the decision a Friday night document massacre. Democrats claim Republicans are trying to force through Kavanaugh's nomination without the proper scrutiny.
For more let's go to CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.
So, Boris, what is the reason why the White House is withholding -- by way of executive privilege withholding this 100,000 pages of documents?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes. The Trump administration citing constitutional privilege for withholding these 100,000 or so pages worth of documents related to Brett Kavanaugh's time as an attorney here at the White House under President George W. Bush.
William Burke, the attorney who's been charged with reviewing these documents, sent a letter to Senate Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley Friday night explaining the review process for these 660,000 plus documents. In that letter he explains his rationale and even says that former President Bush reached out to him in this process asking him to be as transparent as possible.
Well, as you saw there in that statement from Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, Democrats do not feel that this has been a transparent process at all. He referred to it as that Friday night document massacre. Beyond that documents are not going to be the only heated, divisive portion of this confirmation process.
[14:15:05] Brett Kavanaugh's stance on a number of contentious issues including "Roe versus Wade" which the Trump administration has promised to overturn a number of times will come into play.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was asked about this on "STATE OF THE UNION" by Dana Bash earlier today. Listen to the way he handled this question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: Well, here's what I hope he'll do. If there's a case before him that challenges "Roe v. Wade" that he would listen to both sides of the story, apply a test to overturn precedent, precedent is important, but it's not invalid. I'm dying to see if he believes that "Citizens versus United" can be overturned. The bottom line here is there's a process to overturn a precedent and I think he understand that process. He will apply it. And if it were up to me states would make these decisions, not the Supreme Court. But it is a long-held precedent of the court, it will be challenged over time and I hope he will give it a fair hearing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh begin on Tuesday, Fred. President Trump meantime with no public events on the schedule today he has not weighed in on this confirmation fight this weekend via Twitter either -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House, thanks so much.
All right. Next, a cardinal yelled at in the middle of mass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARDINAL DONALD WUERL, ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: Considerable animosity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: This as the Catholic Church faces worldwide criticism of its sex abuse scandal and racists are now capitalizing on the death of Mollie Tibbetts after the Iowa college student was killed by an undocumented immigrant. Her family's message to the hateful rhetoric straight ahead.
[14:21:00] Welcome back. A stunning outburst during Sunday mass at a Washington, D.C., Catholic Church. A parishioner shouted out at Cardinal Donald Wuerl as the cardinal addressed priest sex abuse allegations, allegations he is accused of covering up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WUERL: We need -- we need to hold close in our prayers and our loyalty, our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Increasingly it's clear that he is the object of considerable animosity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Rosa Flores was inside the church during the remarks. Rosa, you spoke to the man who actually yelled that, too, "shame on
you," to the cardinal. What more did he say about why he felt compelled to do that at that time?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, he said that he was very frustrated for what he said was the church not addressing the root of the problem, but as you mentioned, we were inside that church.
So let me take you inside because this cardinal did receive a warm welcome. There were applause as well. It was when he started speaking about transparency, accountability, when he started speaking about the clerical sex abuse scandal, that's when emotions boiled over, that's when this man stood up and said, "Shame on you."
And when I talked to him outside, he said that he was very frustrated for the lack of response on behalf of the church in regards to the Pennsylvania grand jury report. He said that he and others feel very frustrated, very conflicted because their faith is still intact but they're very frustrated with the church. They want transparency. They want accountability. He also said he would want the cardinal to speak more as a pastor and less as a politician.
Now we talked to other people there as well who shared a lot of those thoughts but there was one other woman who made a very loud statement with her silence. Take a look at this picture. She stood up, crossed her arms and gave the cardinal her back. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY CHALLINOR, PARISHIONER: I think he should resign. I think he should understand that just because you didn't mean to do something, doesn't mean that there weren't terrible consequences for lots of people. And I feel he should resign as cardinal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: We asked the archdiocese for response and here's what they said. Quote, "Cardinal Wuerl has spoken extensively over the past two months, conveyed his profound sadness, apologies and contrition, and addressed every issue as it has arisen in a straightforward and transparent manner" -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Rosa Flores, clearly there are many parishioners who do not agree with that and really are wanting more, if not from Cardinal Wuerl but from the Catholic Church in its entirety.
All right. Rosa Flores, thank you so much in Washington.
Straight ahead, a lot is resting on a potential trade deal between the United States and Canada. This as President Trump threatens to keep Canada out of an agreement. But farmers in Trump country could be most impacted if a deal is not reached. That is straight ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:28:55] WHITFIELD: All right. President Trump is once again threatening to exclude Canada from any new free trade agreement tweeting out, "There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal if we don't make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out."
A U.S. imposed deadline came and went Friday with no new deal. Canada's Foreign minister says they won't be pushed into a bad agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRYSTIA FREELAND, CANADIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: We want a good deal, not just any deal, and a good deal is one which is good for Canada and good for Canadians, a good deal is one which reflects the Canadian national interests and in which Canadian values are defended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Talks are set to resume on Wednesday. So what's at stake is one of the U.S.'s biggest trading relationships with more than $300 billion in goods and services crossing the border each year.
I want to bring in Bruce Heyman, he is the former U.S. ambassador to Canada.
Welcome, Mr. Ambassador. Good to see you.
BRUCE HEYMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CANADA: Good to be here.
WHITFIELD: So farming states and border states rely heavily on Canada as an export market. So in your view, are the greatest dangers coming to merchants and farmers or is the greater -- greatest danger coming to the U.S. political landscape including the president as we are just now weeks ahead, two months away from midterms?
BRUCE HEYMAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CANADA: Well, the answer is both. And so I thought maybe we would just use this opportunity because trade is so complicated for so many people.
I thought we would just take it down to its basics. The United States of America sells more to Canada in goods and services than Canada sells to the United States. That's a trade surplus.
Now the president has been talking all along about how the U.S. has been taken advantage of by countries and they uses trade deficit as a means of discussing that. Well, that's not true.
So Canada actually buys more, not only overall goods and services. They buy more steel, they buy more dairy, they buy more of just about everything from us.
So let's now take that one step further. We sell more to Canada than any other nation in the world, so not only are they a good customer, they are our number one customer of the United States. WHITFIELD: So just getting people on board with his rhetoric does not, you know, equate to the reality when you hear the, you know, foreign affairs minister of Canada saying we're looking for a plan that is a good deal for Canadians, for this country. There isn't a complaint coming from the foreign affairs minister that there is, you know, a surplus on the U.S. side in terms of exports. So what really is at issue here?
HEYMAN: So, what's at issue is I think somehow the president has some issue with Canada that I can't actually figure out. And he is going at the prime minister, he is going at the country, he is making false statements with regard to trade. But when you talk about political here's what's happening, which is increasing the pressure on him, which caused the tweets over the weekend, unfortunately, during the funeral service for Senator McCain.
So here's what's happening. GOP Senate Finance Orrin Hatch tweets out this last week, the importance of Canada. The U.S. chamber talks about the importance of having Canada here. And, today, you now have labor unions with the AFL-CIO head, Trumka, coming out and saying you need Canada in here.
So when do you see labor unions and business come together? Well, they come together when they know that U.S. jobs will be impacted and they know the U.S. economy will be impacted. And the president is now taking this even further and saying, well, if you don't go along with me I'm going to start either ripping up NAFTA or taxing autos and auto parts which would be harmful to American jobs.
WHITFIELD: And this can't be, you know, singular endorsement of any new potential deal. Any new deal will have to be ratified by Congress.
WHITFIELD: Will the president have that kind of support by either continuing to threaten or eliminating an important trade partner like Canada?
HEYMAN: I don't think so. And what's even more confusing to me and everybody should -- can easily do this on Google right now. Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. constitution, places the U.S. Congress in responsibility for our foreign trade agreements. So whatever the president says, Congress is going to have to approve it.
And Congress is facing elections coming up in just a few weeks. So I think everyone, regardless of party, needs to come forward and say, are you supportive of having Canada as your partner?
If not, then be accountable to the voter. This is a nonpartisan issue. This is our most important customer. Our most important friend. This is our best friend. Our next door neighbor, greatest ally, but also our number one customer. We're creating millions of American jobs and I think the president has this wrong and he is playing with fire.
WHITFIELD: $300 billion. That's a lot. That's a lot of family businesses.
HEYMAN: That's what we sell to them, yes.
WHITFIELD: You have family businesses that are at stake.
Right. Ambassador Bruce Heyman, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, big tech companies take on lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week. The topic -- Russian trolls and America's elections. What they are doing to stop interference?
But, first, she is a U.S. Supreme Court -- a U.S. Supreme Court justice and a pop culture icon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed an astonishing legal legacy. Now a new CNN film "RBG" airing tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern takes an in-depth look at this quiet warrior's life-long journey.
Here's a sneak peek.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm proud to nominate this path-breaking attorney, advocate, and judge to be the 107th Justice to the United States Supreme Court.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: They may be in trying times, but think how it was in those days. The judges didn't think sex discrimination existed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ruth knew what she was doing in laying the foundation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She put women on the same plane as men.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The goal was equality and civil rights.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg quite literally changed the way the world is for American women.
GINSBURG: What has become me could happen only in America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has become such a rock star.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is really the closest thing to a superhero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is known to the world over as the notorious RBG.
GINSBURG: All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks. (END VIDEOTAPE)
[14:40:10] WHITFIELD: Top executives from some of the country's biggest tech companies head to Capitol Hill this week for an expected grilling from members of Congress. The companies have faced criticism for how their platforms were used to spread misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, particularly by Russian trolls.
The hearing before the Senate Intel Committee, Wednesday, comes just days after President Trump ramped up his own attacks on Google accusing the search engine of bias and of trying to silence conservative voices.
Senior -- CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy is following the latest developments for us.
So, Oliver, exactly what are senators on the Intel Committee hoping to find out from Twitter Chief Jack Dorsey and Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg?
We know that Google might not appear, but what are the expectations?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There's a lot going on here. So these executives from the tech companies are set to appear in front of the Senate Intel Committee and it's supposed to be about Russian meddling in the U.S. election. So I think you can expect from a lot of lawmakers to hear about what the tech platforms are doing to prevent meddling in the election. What actions they have taken in the past and things of that nature.
That said the president like you mentioned has brought up the idea that these companies are biased against some conservatives. And while there is little grounding in what the president is accusing these companies of, I think you can expect a lot of Republican lawmakers to ask these companies, Google, Facebook, YouTube, what they are doing and if they are biased against conservatives and how they limit people from being censored based on political viewpoints.
WHITFIELD: So are there any potential consequences if Google does not show up? They've been invited but there's a likelihood there's going to be a no show. There will be a no show.
DARCY: Right. That's one of the side shows that's kind of going on right now. Google was invited, but they refuse to send their CEO to testify. And so they sent their chief -- they want to send their chief legal counsel, but the senators, the ranking senators on the Senate Intel Committee are saying that's not good enough. And that they are threatening basically to put an empty chair alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg, basically showing that Google refuses to send one of their top executives to testify about these important matters in front of the Senate Intel Committee.
WHITFIELD: So in February, U.S. Intelligence agencies warned that Russia would try to interfere in the 2018 midterms. In fact even intimating that it was already happening by using social media to spread propaganda, misleading reports, etcetera, very similar to what, you know, was experienced in 2016.
So do we know if the tech companies have made any changes to -- I mean, any real concerted effort to prevent this from happening, perhaps at the same scale as what was experienced in 2016?
DARCY: Yes, these tech companies they say they take this very, very seriously. And so they've done a couple things. One, for instance, they -- Facebook at least has made it so if you are advertising about a political issue, the person who is paying for that advertisement that's disclosed to the consumer.
There's also some measures that they put into place about just purchasing these advertisements before you could anonymously purchase Facebook ads and ads on these network. And so there's some -- there's some action they've taken in that regard.
They've also been a lot more sensitive in dealing with how they find and locate potential Russian trolls, pages that are run by suspected Russian trolls.
And so you've seen them dismantle networks of these pages. You saw them in the past couple of weeks where Facebook and Twitter took down pages that they thought were all being operated by Russians to sew discord in the U.S. elections.
So these companies have taken action, but I think you're going to want to see -- or you want to see senators still ask them what more action they're taking. Are they under attack at the moment by Russian trolls? Have they seen anything that might indicate interference in the current election? And what more are they going to do in 2020 to prevent these things going forward. So I think a lot of questions for these guys and you're going to see them.
WHITFIELD: Oliver Darcy, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
DARCY: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Next, racists pouncing on the death of a college student killed by an undocumented immigrant suggesting all Latinos are a threat. Now the family of Mollie Tibbetts is calling for an end to this hateful rhetoric.
[14:48:52] WHITFIELD: Florida's Democratic candidate for governor is responding to racist robocalls targeting his campaign.
Andrew Gillum's historic victory on Tuesday gives him a shot at becoming the state's first black governor. He addressed the robocalls and comments by his opponent, Republican Ron DeSantis, who said Florida voters should not, quote, "monkey this up" by electing Gillum.
Here's what Gillum told CNN's Dana Bash earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW GILLUM (D), FLORIDA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I have to tell you, I do find it deeply regrettable. I mean, on the day right after I secured the Democratic nomination, we had to deal with some of the dog whistles directly from my opponent.
I want to make sure that we don't racialize and frankly weaponized race as a part of this process, which is why I've called on my opponent to really work to rise above some of these things.
People are taking their cues from him, from his campaign, and from Donald Trump. And we saw in Charlottesville that that can lead to real, frankly dangerous outcomes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:50:00] WHITFIELD: And then about those robocalls in Florida, 78- second robocall messages mocking Gillum's race and has jungle noises in the background. The message was paid for by a white supremacist and Neo-Nazi group. The same group behind robocalls aimed at Gillum. Also reportedly responsible for racist robocalls targeting Latinos in and around Des Moines, Iowa.
It is all part of a growing anti-immigrant sentiment since the murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts. An undocumented immigrant from Mexico is charged with her murder. And now her family is joining the city of Des Moines in fighting back against the rising anti- immigrant sentiment.
CNN's correspondent Polo Sandoval joins us now with more on that.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, it's been about a week now since the funeral of Mollie Tibbetts was held. Since then, the young woman's family has been trying to find at least a measure of peace in all of this. Well, now her father says that he is having to focus efforts on renewing a plea to politicians to stop using his daughter as a political pawn.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman. It shouldn't have never happened. Illegally in our country.
SANDOVAL: When some politicians and pundits have refused to listen, Mollie Tibbetts' father said he had to ask again.
In an op-ed in this weekend's "Des Moines Register," Rob Tibbetts renewed his plea to have his murdered daughter left out of the immigration debate. He writes, "Some have ignored our request. They have instead chosen to callously distort and corrupt Mollie's tragic death to advance a cause she vehemently opposed."
Tibbetts' statement comes as nervousness and fear grow throughout the small farming region that was Mollie's home because of the suspected killer's undocumented status. Some members of Iowa's Latino community feel threatened. Last week this graffiti was discovered on a street in Des Moines.
"Not in our city," responded officials on Twitter, who later painted over the words. A white supremacist group has been calling Iowans with a message, spewing hate, calling for a white America in the name of Mollie Tibbetts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was stabbed to death by an invader from Mexico.
SANDOVAL: Another sign of nerves in the Latino community, two local festivals celebrating their culture were postponed. One group cited Tibbetts' murder as the reason for the cancellation.
Joe Henry, a local Latino leader, is worried about the troubling climate in this part of the country.
JOE HENRY, LATINO LEADER: Latinos are being threatened, both on social media and in neighborhoods.
TRUMP: A person came in from Mexico, illegally, and killed her. We need the wall. We need our immigration laws changed.
SANDOVAL: Some conservatives remain firm in blaming current immigration laws for the fate of this promising 20-year-old. But her father insists Mollie was nobody's victim.
"Do not appropriate Mollie's soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist." He wrote on his op-ed. "Nor is she a pawn in others' debate."
SANDOVAL: The words of a father still in mourning. What do the people there in Brooklyn, Iowa, have to say?
I can tell you my colleague Justin Gamble spent some time there speaking to folks. He found out that according to a small sampling of people there, many folks are largely supportive of an immigrant's role in that community.
After all, they hold a very important role when it comes to the farming economy. However, many of them did support, of course, them having legal status and also many of them did support making e-verify a requirement, Fred, for these employers, which is basically a government system that allows some of these employers to confirm a person's eligibility to work in the country. And we know according to investigators in this case, the suspect was not checked out on that e- verify system.
WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM right after this. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
CAROLYN WYNN, CLIMBING INSTRUCTOR, ATLANTA ROCKS: I need you to breathe. You're not going to get beat by this wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a nurse in an outpatient facility. I've been climbing for about 2 1/2 years. When I come here with all my stress, it's release. It's just gets out of my body. It's my very first time getting to the top of the wall and looking down, I was scared to actually come down. Just do not like heights at all.
I learned to overcome that fear because it's like you can't be scared of things in life.
WYNN: I have students that are 5 years old, and I have students that are 65 years old. It was a full-body workout. So not only are you working on core strength, you're working on your leg strength.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm starting to tone up more. The muscles, the shoulders, my legs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The irregular movements of rock climbing force the body to adapt on a very frequent basis. The more varied these positions, the more the body has to adapt. What this does is creates neural pathways that can enhance our movement, enhance our cognitive function.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the critical thinking that you're doing in nursing, saving someone's life, is a critical thinking when you're climbing up that wall to get to the top. I've converted other people to rock climbing, and I'm so happy about it.
[14:54:30] WHITFIELD: All right. Hello again, everyone. And thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.
President Trump will get a second opportunity to make a lasting impact on the United States Supreme Court when his nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, goes before the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings this week.
It will be the second such showdown over a justice since the president took office in January of 2017. This as the White House says it is using executive privilege to hold back more than 100,000 pages of documents related to Kavanaugh's time as a lawyer in George W. Bush's administration.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calls the decision a Friday night document massacre, referenced to Watergate.