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Source: Trump Obsessed with Identifying Op-Ed Author; Cohen Wants His $130,000 Back From Stormy Daniels; Ex-Trump Campaign Aide Sentenced to 14 Days In Prison; Obama Takes on GOP and Trump Ahead Of Midterms; State Department: Kim Jong-Un Pens Private Letter to Trump. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired September 8, 2018 - 08:00   ET



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: What they've done is virtually treason.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: This comes as Trump is now demanding the attorney general launch an investigation to uncover the identity of the person.

BARACK OBAMA: Former PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: We do not pressure the Attorney General or the FBI to use the criminal justice system as a cudgel to punish our political opponents. It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause.

TRUMP: I'm sorry, I watched it, but I fell asleep.


[08:00:40] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christy Paul.

PAUL: There are all kinds of theories and so many denials surrounding who wrote that anonymous New York Times Op-Ed that was so critical of the President.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yes, well now aides to the President think they have the search narrowed down to just a few individuals.

A source close to the White House says President Trump is obsessed with finding out who this is, even as Chief of Staff, John Kelly tells him to let it go.

PAUL: Now, after a week that saw really strong job numbers and a Supreme Court nominee one step closer to confirmation, President Trump is telling reporters, he thinks exposing the Op-Ed writer is a matter of national security and wants Attorney General Jeff sessions to look into that.


TRUMP: Supposing I have a high level national security, he has got clearance, we talk about clearances a lot recently, and he goes into a high level meeting concerning China or Russia or North Korea or something and this guy goes in. I don't want him in those meetings.


BLACKWELL: So will an investigation reveal the author here? Joining us now live from the White House with more, CNN White House reporter Jeremy Diamond, where does the search stand now, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Victor, it really was a one two punch for the President. First we saw the book from Bob Woodward, a new bombshell book that really depicts the President, questioning his fitness to lead and showing that administration officials throughout government are trying to check his worst impulses.

And then we see this Op-Ed from an anonymous senior administration official describing many of those very same qualities and describing the resistance inside the Trump administration.

All of this has led to the President being very angry about this, fuming to aides about it and urging them to launch a search to uncover the identity of this senior administration official.

But now the President is also calling on the Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch an investigation into this Op-Ed and it's really is a serious escalation of what we've seen so far from the White House. There has been no crime that the President has identified to warrant such an investigation and it's really raising questions about potential abuse of power if the President were to engage in this.

And that is the very notion that The New York Times raised in a statement rebutting the President's comments saying, "We're confident that the Department of Justice understands that the First Amendment protects all American citizens and that it would not participate in such a blatant abuse of government power."

But Kellyanne Conway, Counsel to the President, told our colleague Christiane Amanpour, just yesterday that she doesn't believe an investigation is warranted and she said she believes the individual will suss themselves out.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I'm not interested in an investigation. This I guess those who are investigating, great. I really hope they will find the person. I believe the person will suss himself or herself out though because that's usually what happens.

People brag to the wrong person. They brag that they did this or they did that because I assume part of this, isn't the goal here not what the Op-Ed pretends the goal is for sure, isn't the goal here really to try to sow chaos and get us all suspicious of each other --

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN REPORTER: Is that what's happening? Are you all getting suspicious of each other?

CONWAY: No, that isn't what happened... (END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: That paranoia by the way and those suspicions are very real inside this West Wing this week, following this Op-Ed and launching just the latest search for leakers that we've seen inside this White House. But for now, we are still waiting for the President to speak to see if he's going to comment further today. He has no public events on his schedule. But we'll certainly be keeping an eye on his Twitter feed.

BLACKWELL: We certainly will, Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thank you.

PAUL: So one of the questions here is, can the Justice Department investigate this? Michael Moore, Former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, with us now and Brian Stelter, CNN Senior Media Correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources." Gentlemen, thank you so much. Michael Moore, first to you, can they, should they, would it do any good?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: The Justice Department would typically investigate if there was a question about classified information being leaked out. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

I think what you see though is that Trump just cannot get through his head, the DOJ is not his own personal KGB, and we don't sic them on people who disagree with the President or disagree with him. And he's never quite been able to understand that.

[08:05:40] It's rich to me that he suggests an investigation at this point, especially since he contends that when we got his son and his son-in-law and his senior advisers and him even in the Oval office meeting with Russian operatives. And that we're calling a witch hunt, but here he wants to seek the DOJ and talk about it being national security, and wants to put them on some kind of chase after somebody who has come out against him.

At the end of the day, what you might find, this is something to just kind of tuck away in the back of your memory is that you may find this somewhere closer to the tops of the administration, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that somebody in the Vice President's camp looking to the next step after we see Kavanaugh confirmed.

If that happens which it looks like it might happen. I think at that point, they'll be through with Trump, they've got no other reason to have him there. You might see people trying to topple him from the inside at that point.

PAUL: Brian, do you, I mean you have all kind of friends at The New York Times. What are they saying to you about where they think this is going?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This op-ed is well over 12 million pages at this point. It's the number one story on the website for several days now. It's been shared all over social media. It's just astonishing to see the spread of this piece and the impact it's had. Given that on one level, the claims in the piece have been out there for many months.

What is said in the op-ed lines up what's been reported by our colleagues and by "The Times" and by "The Post" ever since Inauguration Day that the President doesn't really know what he's doing. And according to the Bob Woodward book, some of his aides think he's a threat to national security.

These are terrifying claims and yet the op-ed I think brought them to light in a new way, because it's all in the voice of this anonymous official, and because the official says, there are a lot of other people like him or her, that there are many people among this so- called resistance.

So I was a little bit amused to hear the op-ed, I heard "The New York times" say, we didn't think it was going to be this big a deal. Because on one level that's true, this was not surprising on that level, but it is remarkable to see it all said in a single op-ed. I think that's why it's still driving conversations, still driving people's fears as we head into the weekend.

PAUL: Well I mean, it does bring to question of what would compel somebody at this point in time to do this? I want to read what Nikki Haley wrote, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. in her own op-ed. She wrote, "as a Former Governor, I find it absolutely chilling to imagine that a high ranking member of my team would secretly try to thwart my agenda. That is not the American way, it's fundamentally disloyal not just to the Chief Executive, but to our country and to our values, it is cowardly."

On the other end of the spectrum, you've got Norm Eisen, Senior fellow of Brookings Institute, and he was an ethics czar to Former President Obama. In a CNN opinion piece, he writes this about anonymous, he says, the acts don't appear to be illegal, it doesn't meet the level of treason as President Trump asserts.

And he writes, "I believe the author is doing the ethical thing in resisting Trump from within and writing about it openly." He called anonymous "an American hero." What is anonymous, Brian? Hero or coward?

STELTER: Oh, in this country there are several ways to blow the whistle when you believe that there is wrong-doing happening. Normally you would come out publicly and speak with your own name attached or you would go to a reporter and be interviewed by the reporter.

I think the senior officials found a new path where they're trying to speak in their own words but not have their name attached. But I do think, we should view it in one way as blowing the whistle, trying to draw attention to a crisis that is continuing to unfold.

At least, that's how the person views him or herself. You know I think the key line of the piece is there are adults in the room. Don't worry, everybody, there are adults in the room trying to protect the U.S. from the President, so this person clearly believes that they are a hero.

PAUL: So let me push back just for a second, Brian, and ask, what do we know about the validity of what this person is writing?

STELTER: The Times says it did fact-check the piece, it did try to fact check the claims in the piece. For example, the claim about how there were whispers in the cabinet about invoking the 25th Amendment.

But the reality is that when it's an opinion article as this is, an op-ed, there's only so much fact-checking that can go on. The Times did have direct communication with the writer, so they did verify the person's identity. Remember, we don't know the person but The Times editors do know who the person is.

But with regards to being able to verify the claim, let's take one specific example, the claim that there are many dozens of others who have shared the same feelings. I think it would have been very, very difficult for The Times to try to verify that.

PAUL: So OK, Michael, what are your thoughts on that?

MOORE: Let me say first, in my law practice, I represent whistle- blowers every day. And to me this guy or lady is a hero. I never like to see things just come out anonymous in a paper, but they're a hero for at least telling us what's going on from the inside.

[08:10:40] I wish that we could have some of that courage seep over to the Congress where it seems there's been a total abdication of the constitutional duties of the Congress. By all accounts, there is nothing new in the piece. There's nothing new that leads us to a place where there ought to be a criminal investigation.

It appears that it's been vetted. It appears that there is clear inside information and information that we would look to even in a civil whistle-blower context of some type of insider indication.

That seems to be the case. And while we hope at the end of the day somebody has the fortitude to stand up and tell us what's going on and put their name behind it. At least we've got somebody in there now who's telling us things that we already know. And that is that we are starting to see a crash of this Presidency.

PAUL: All right, Michael, real quickly some other news is coming out this morning. Former Attorney Michael Cohen, President's Former Attorney says, he wants to tear up that non-disclosure agreement that he reached with Stormy Daniels, who alleges that she had an affair with the President. Is this as easy as just hand something up?

MOORE: I don't think it's going to be quite that easy. There will be people who file motions to try to keep it alive or try to (inaudible) so that things remain secret. Again, at the end of the day, I mean, he's faced the music a little bit and now he wants to see things moved in a different direction. I don't think it's going to be like he can just drop it in the shredder.

My guess is that he'll meet some resistance from a number of different groups and a number of different individuals.

PAUL: All righty, Michael Moore, Brian Stelter, gentleman so good to have you with us, this morning. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos will spend 14 days in prison for lying to investigators about his contacts, with people connected to Russia during the 2016 campaign.

President Trump responded to the news on Twitter writing this, "14 days for $28 million. $2 million a day, no collusion, a great day for America!" Now of course, there have been dozens of indictments. There have been the conviction of Paul Manafort. Guilty pleas.

There is much more to this than just these 14 days. You could hear from Papadopoulos himself in a CNN special report, The Mysterious Case of George Papadopoulos. It airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

PAUL: Well, Republicans in Congress and in the White House are hitting back after sharp criticism from former President Barack Obama. Straight ahead, the midterm message they hope is going to resonate with voters.

BLACKWELL: Plus, Dallas police say an off duty officer walks into the wrong apartment and shot and killed her neighbor. But there's much more to this, we'll have that with you in just a moment.

PAUL: Also, outrage over Nike's decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in their 30th anniversary "Just Do It" ad. Why some are boycotting the brand and burning their shoes in protest and where do we go from here? Stay close.



OBAMA: Republicans who know better in Congress, and they're there, they're quoted, saying, yes, we know this is kind of crazy, are still bending over backwards to shield this behavior from scrutiny or accountability or consequence. Seem utterly unwilling to find the backbone to safeguard the institutions that make our democracy work.


BLACKWELL: Former President Barack Obama there, laying out his mid- term message to voters criticizing Republicans in Congress and President Trump. From the Trump tax cuts to The New York Times op-ed, the President laid out a case for why voters should rebuke Republicans ahead of November.

Joining me now, Republican Congressman Ryan Costello from Pennsylvania. Congressman, welcome back to the show.


BLACKWELL: First, let's start here with the question of does that case - and you have been critical of the President - does that case from that former President worry vulnerable Republicans heading into November?

COSTELLO: I don't think so, because those voters who are going to vote against Republican members of Congress because of their distaste for the President, that already shows up in polling, but you have a consumer confidence at an 18-year high.

90% of Americans have bigger pay checks. There are more job openings than there are those classified as unemployed. And in a lot of these districts, Republicans can still hold onto the House because you see suburban Republican members holding their own in polls. The challenge may actually be--

BLACKWELL: You think the Republicans can hold the house?

COSTELLO: They certainly can. We may not but we certainly can. I think it's a coin toss, I think President Obama says some very relevant things as well, which I think voters will agree with President Obama and still may yet vote Republican. And that is, particularly on the issue of what happens within the White House. I'm not so sure Congress can control what the President says - go ahead.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this. Are you one of the Congressmen that who know better that he's talking about. You've been critical, what actions have you taken to take action on those criticisms?

COSTELO: I think most prominently, two things. One, we have imposed sanctions against Russia that are more harsh than ever and President Trump doesn't like that, but we still did it. That's number one. Number two, we had about a dozen Republicans who were trying to undermine the Mueller investigation and have Rosenstein impeached, and we pushed back very hard behind the scenes in order to protect the integrity of the Mueller investigation.

That doesn't regularly - that doesn't get reported because it's kind of behind the scenes. But those are two things which I would point out to you, Victor.

[08:20:40] BLACKWELL: Do you believe after the reporting, from - not reporting, but the publishing of this opinion piece from this anonymous senior administration official, that there is a two-track government?

COSTELLO: I think, number one, the fact that it's anonymous really undermines any punch to it. Because we don't know who that official is, where their office even is. But I do think it highlights something that is relevant.

When the President says things that people disagree with, and President Obama, I think even indicated this about treating the Department of Justice as kind of like a political prosecution arm.

No American agrees with that, yet the President says it. Republicans in Congress don't agree with it. And so there does need to be pushback by members of both parties when the President does that.

BLACKWELL: OK. So, I'm going to get back to that pushback from members of both parties. But I want to go back to the question I just asked, do you believe there is a two-track government where the President will give a directive that some believe is dangerous and we can bring in the reporting from Bob Woodward in his new book coming out on Tuesday and then those who are cast as the adults in the room say that we are not going to do that? Do you believe that?

COSTELLO: I want to give you as direct an answer as I can. It's hard to extrapolate just from an anonymous op-ed the machinations of that. I do think the Woodward book - I mean he has an excellent reputation, probably will illuminate more on your question than anything else. But I also think there are members within the administration and certainly in Congress who disagree with some of the things that the President says and does.

BLACKWELL: More than disagree, they find it dangerous.

COSTELLO: I'm sorry, your question?

BLACKWELL: The question is, if - and we've heard people who question some of the things, not just that it's not best or they disagree with the way it's happening. They may find some of these things dangerous. What then should members of Congress do?

COSTELLO: They should speak out and, if appropriate, particularly with Russia sanctions, you embed in legislation that the President needs to sign things in order to curtail any excess or in the case of I think Attorney General Sessions who is getting beat over the head every single week by the President, I mean, Attorney General Sessions is not listening to the President when the President is trying to get him to do things that Attorney General shouldn't be doing.

BLACKWELL: To that point, do you think that the Department of Justice should investigate or be involved in searching for the author of this op-ed?

COSTELLO: No, I think this notion that somehow there is a national security concern is ridiculous. I think most people think that, yes.

BLACKWELL: So Mark Meadows who is the Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations said that his office is looking into what they could do. He's not saying that they're going to launch an investigation here. But do you think that Congress has a role in finding out potentially who the author is?

COSTELLO: No, I don't. And Trey Gowdy, who I think calls balls and strikes pretty fairly says, what are we supposed to investigate? As you well know, Congressman Meadows is probably one of the two most ardent Trump supporters in Congress and tends to attack towards where the President would most like someone to go but I don't know what there's to investigate.

The one thing I would say about this anonymous Op-Ed, is that it guarantees, whoever is the next President is going to have an anonymous Op-Ed by someone in the administration speaking out against them. We have no idea who this person, I don't mean to undercut some of the criticisms in the Op-Ed, which I do think have some merit, some of them do at least what I can discern. But it's just really -

BLACKWELL: Which ones?

COSTELLO: Well, look, I think the President goes off the rails with some of the things he says and does. I mean, I think a lot of Americans who will still support Republicans in Congress don't like the President saying some of the things that he does. I mean -

BLACKWELL: Can you be more specific about that, going off the rails? Is this just rhetorical or do you believe that some of the things are dangerous?

COSTELLO: I think that we have a deteriorating political culture and the President contributes to that, rather than as trying to restore stability to it. I think the way he goes, the way he suggests we should go after his political opponent, the politization of the Department of Justice is an extremely unhealthy debilitating things. And it could be dangerous if you had an Attorney General that were to follow those instructions.

I think what the President did in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin was extremely dangerous. I mean, you can't draw an equivalency between the American intelligence community and what the findings they have and Vladimir Putin equivalency or denial of that.

[08:25:40] So certainly and I'll continue to speak out against that and I think, you'll find more Republicans do that over time. The one final thing I would say, very few people thought - a lot of people didn't think President Trump was even going to win.

And since that time, I think that there has been a real learning lesson for a lot of us to understand why he won. There was a lot of frustration by people in this country who felt left behind and the President does still speak to many of them.

And at the same point in time, I think more and more people are identifying where he says and does things that are inappropriate and you're seeing more people speak out.

BLACKWELL: OK. Congressman Ryan Costello, thanks so much.

COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you.

PAUL: Well, a Dallas police officer says, she shot her neighbor after she mistook his apartment for her own.

Well, now the department is seeking a manslaughter warrant for her arrest. We'll tell you what's happening.

BLACKWELL: And we are watching the Tropics tropical storm Florence appears to be headed for the U.S. East coast. Look at this and there are more storms behind it. Allison has the latest track and she'll join us with the forecast in a moment.


PAUL: 30 minutes after the hour. Thank you for sharing some time with us this morning, I'm Christy Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Yes, so were talking about as if you couldn't tell there tropical storm Florence, although it is regaining some strength here as it churns along and it is believed to be a major hurricane by the time it hits the U.S.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and that could come sometime next week. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the latest in the CNN Weather Center and not just this storm but a couple other nuisances out there.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN Meteorologist: Right, that's right. Three total potential storms here and three that could end up being all hurricanes by the time we get to Monday. But let's start with Florence. As Christi mentioned, it has already started to re-strengthen, the latest advisory is now seeing those winds jump up to 65 miles per hour, the thing of it is the reason why it's doing that is, as it continues its westward track, it's entering a much more favorable environment for it.

So notice here, one, two, three, we do expect it to strengthen once it hits category three or higher, it is considered a major hurricane. And that's what we expected to do in coming days before it makes it way towards the U.S. The reason why it's strengthening, we talked about it, a more favorable environment, there will be less sheer and more importantly very warm ocean temperatures. And that is fuel for tropical systems.

So that's what's really going to help this storm strengthen as it approaches the U.S. The ultimate question is where, which states will have impacts from this particular storm. The models are really starting to come towing and they're really starting to favoring a landfall around the Carolinas.

Now whether that's South Carolina, whether that's North Carolina or does it even shift a little further North, that could still potentially change because at this point, landfall is not expected until late in the day on Thursday. So a lot can change in the short term.

The thing I want to take away to be from this, is if you live anywhere in this region, pay close attention to this storm but not just this storm because we have other storms as well. Helene, tropical storm Helene formed and was just named overnight, last night.

We also have tropical depression 9, this Victor and Christi, is expected to become tropical storm Isaac in just the next 24 hours.


PAUL: I don't know what to say about that. Good heavens.

BLACKWELL: Meteorologist Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for watching it for us.

Well, Dallas police, they are now seeking a manslaughter warrant for an officer who allegedly shot her neighbor.

The officer shot 26-year old Botham Jean, this was after she tried to enter his apartment allegedly mistaking it for her own.

PAUL: CNN's Kaylee Hartung is following this story and this is I think what's so - people are still questioning. How do you go into an apartment if it's not yours? I mean, you'd have to have a key, you would think.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And in this apartment building, we have come to learn, they have the electronic key fob system. So it's not the act of inserting the key, the old fashioned way into the door. I think the Dallas Police Chief said it best when she said, right now we have more questions than answers.

What we do know is the 26-year-old Botham Jean was in his own apartment on Thursday night when a uniformed police officer off-duty shot and killed him. Now, the circumstances of their encounter, their interactions are unclear, the nature of their relationship beyond the fact that they did live in the same apartment building.

Now after the officer fired her weapon, she called 911, police responded quickly and this investigation began, it began as an officer-involved shooting. The police department following such protocol that the Police Chief said yesterday that as they continue this investigation, it became clear to them, to be a much different and very unique situation.

The protocol for an officer-involved shooting no longer here. The Texas Rangers, the state law enforcement agency has been called in to run their independent and parallel criminal investigation here. The officer had a blood sample taken to test for drugs and alcohol in her system. Again, this happening at 10:00 p.m. Thursday night.

[08:35:40] She was believed to have just been coming off a shift for the police department. Now because this officer has not yet been charged, though, as you mentioned, the Dallas police now looking to charge her with manslaughter, but that has not happened yet. The process is in effect to get that warrant. But until that time, the police department is not naming her.

PAUL: All right. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much. A spectacle in North Korea, the country is gearing up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding. Experts will be watching closely for insight into Kim and his top aides and what they're thinking. Next Will Ripley reports from inside North Korea.

PAUL: And you know about the backlash over Nike's decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in their "Just Do It" anniversary ad, two people on two different sides of it coming up.


PAUL: Well, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrote a private letter to President Trump and it is headed to the White House as we speak here.

BLACKWELL: Now, this direct communication comes after Kim told a South Korean official that he has and this is a quote, unwavering trust for President Trump. Also that he wants to finish de-nuclearization before the President finishes his term.

Now the two leaders met face to face in June, since then the negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled. The President cancelled Pompeo's planned trip to the north Korean capital last month. Of course, that's the Secretary of State. He said that the lack of evidence the country had come through on any of its commitments to de-nuclearize.

PAUL: And North Korea is getting ready to celebrate its 70th anniversary of its founding. So our international correspondent, Will Ripley is in Pyongyang. This is his 19th time reporting for us from inside North Korea.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Victor and Christi. So there's still no official confirmation here in North Korea that their leader Kim Jong-un actually sent a letter to President Trump.

But it has been confirmed by the state department that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo received that letter and President Trump will be reading it.

He said on Air Force One, on Friday that he expected it to be a positive letter. And it would in line with the tone of communication between Trump and Kim. They have been very friendly with each other, whether it be on Twitter or the letters that have been exchanged, despite the fact that the de-nuclearization talks have gotten increasingly tense between the U.S. and North Korea.

We are on the ground here to be shown something that the North Korean government wants us to see, a major event. A large celebration for their 70th founding anniversary. In fact, we have been told we need to leave the Yanggakdo Hotel, where there's a press center set up for the more than 100 international journalists who are here from all over the world, to cover this event.

It's very rare, by the way for North Korea to invite in so many reporters. We're going to have to go through metal detectors, explosives screenings, that kind of security, usually just to believe that we will be at an event with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Will we see the Mass games, the huge choreographed display of tens of thousands of North Korans in a stadium flipping cars that have different colors and they all come together to create a very large message, a message to the world or could we see something else? Those are the things that we just don't know because here in North Korea, they tell us to go and that's exactly what we have to do. Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Will, thank you so much. Still to come, people are ripping their swooshes off. They are burning their shoes, they're burning their clothing. How some are responding to Nike's controversial "Just Do It" ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. Will it affect the company's bottom line?


PAUL: There were no major protests at the NFL season kick-off between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday.

But certainly outrage over Nike's decision to tap former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick who is one of the faces of their "Just do it" campaign.

Remember, he sparked a national movement by taking a knee during the national anthem, he is doing this to protest systemic racism and police brutality. The President has fiercely condemned the move on the field and so did a big portion of America, a lot of people protested Nike's decision on social media. They ripped the swooshes from the socks, they burned the Nike shoes and the clothing.

Executive Director is Rashad Robinson with us right now and CNN's Political Commentator Ben Ferguson with us as well, gentlemen, thank you both for being here, we appreciate it. Good morning to you.

So, Ben, I want to start with you, people complain, you know, if somebody marches in the street. They complain if they rally. This protest is not about the flag. Why is it that people cannot seem to separate the focus of this protest about police brutality and African- Americans and how they are treated with patriotism?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it has morphed a lot since the first day of Colin Kaepernick kneeling. Remember, Colin Kaepernick's guide wore socks depicting all cops as pigs, he is worn shirts supporting Fidel Castro, a dictator and a tyrant who oppresses people all the time.

As someone that he, I guess, admires by wearing that T-shirt and the biggest day of protest in the NFL's history, was after Donald Trump called out the players, so you can't say this is just about police brutality when the biggest day of protest was in fact, protesting Donald Trump's comments about NFL players.

This has morphed into something much different than it was in theory originally about. I mean, Colin Kaepernick is an individual who clearly cannot depict police in general.

[08:50:40] You don't wear these socks depict all cops as pigs and expect that I'm going to sit here and back you up and or defend you.

And that's the reason why so many people are upset over what Nike has done, Nike knew this was a controversy. They chose to dive straight into it. They chose this to be a moment for them to say, this is what we are going to do?

They have the right to do that. But as a consumer, I have the right to say, I'm not buying Nike anymore. Good luck with this campaign. I think it's an incredibly disingenuous for them to act as if somehow this is a simple issue and protest.

It's not, it's a huge controversy, that's one of the reasons why they waited so long to unroll this, hoping I think, that some of this could have die down and clearly it hasn't.

PAUL: So what could have been done differently to keep the very valid focus and argument of this whole protest in play? What could have happened differently?

FERGUSON: First, I think Colin Kaepernick shouldn't depict all police officers as pigs by wearing those socks, second of all, I think Colin Kaepernick also should have actually met with police and talked with police and sat down with them and tried to be a uniter on this issue instead of a divider on this issue.

That's where I think he lost half of the country or if not more. Not all police officers are bad people. He's never come out and defended the good ones.

PAUL: Rashad, I want you to respond please.

RASHAD ROBINSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COLOROFCHANGE.ORG: Yes, there's actually nothing that Colin Kaepernick could have done that Ben would have come on the TV and said that's great.

I'm so glad those black people-

FERGUSON: That's not true.

ROBINSON: No, let me finish, Ben. There is nothing you can do and I watch you on TV and I follow you on Twitter. And what I do know is that you have never come on and said, you know, that's good that they're protesting. That's good that they're standing up against systemic oppression and so the line -

FERGUSON: That's not true.

ROBINSON: The line will always move and there will always be armchair quarterbacks, who will look at how black people protest, how people who are standing up against injustice and protest and say hey, you should have actually done it this way. If you had just said it this way, I might have supported you, I might have stood up against the things you are talking about.

The fact of the matter is that Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reed and the other players who have stood up and pushed back against oppression, against systemic oppression have opened up a conversation in this country and they 20, 30, 40 years from now, they will be rewarded.

At every point in our history, when black people have stood up and fought oppression, there's always been people who have stood on the sidelines and said, you should have done it this way. They did that to the Lunch counter protesters in the '60s. They did that to Dr. King. And so you will you always have this. The fact of the matter is that

we are seeing the tide changing. We've seen the National Black Association of police officer just come out and say that they support Colin Kaepernick's right to protest. And they understand that he's not protesting the police.

So I understand that Ben may know - so I know that Ben may think that he knows better than black men who put on the uniform of police officers and go out and defend their community as police officers, Ben actually knows better than them-

FERGUSON: First off let's be clear, let's be clear.

ROBINSON: They have supported him, we see military folks come out and support them. No, you had your time to talk, let me finish.

FERGUSON: I listened to you for a long time.

PAUL: We have one minute left. Go ahead and finish up, Ben, we have one minute left. Go ahead. Rashad.

ROBINSON: So over and over again and so 20, 30 years from now, we will see many people that said that they stood with Colin Kaepernick, that they were on his side. But there has never been a time and I will say this one more thing about corporations, that people--

FERGUSON: Let me jump in here.

PAUL: You will get a chance, Ben. You will get a chance.

ROBINSON: We saw many folks say, they would boycott Disney because Disney supported gay marriage. We've seen folks say that they would push back against these corporations because they stood up for the rights of women.


ROBINSON: We always see people on the right that want to fight against progress and we will not stand for it.

PAUL: Ben, go ahead.

FERGUSON: Let's be clear, the majority of police officers when they put on the uniform, they think of themselves as men and women that wear blue. They're not looking at the race or the color of their skin when they're protecting people. They don't run in a house and ask what is the race inside, police officers don't look at the world the same way -

ROBINSON: You have you no idea.

FERGUSON: I do. I grew up in a police family. My dad still has a badge. So you can stop with assuming you know, all police - You do not. Second thing, let me say this, let me say this. Let me get - I'm going to say the second part. If you want Colin Kaepernick to be taken seriously, start with telling him this, actually get involved out there in the streets, for example.

ROBINSON: Thanks for helping--

PAUL: I'm sorry, we have run out of time. There is so much that we did not get to in this conversation. I am so sorry to have to cut it here. But Rashad Robinson and Ben Ferguson, we appreciate you both being here. We'll be right back.