Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Controversial Yearbook Photo Surfaces of Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam in Either Blackface or Ku Klux Klan Outfit; Democratic Party Leaders Call on Governor Northam to Resign; Interview with Rep. Andre Carson (D-VA), Russia Pulls out of INF Nuclear Arms Treaty; Democratic Senator Cory Booker Announces 2020 Presidential Bid; Interview with Musician and Producer Jermaine Dupri; Patriots and Rams Prepare for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 2, 2019 - 10:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:26] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, at this hour, Democrat Ralph Northam is still Virginia's governor. That's despite calls from political allies, state leaders, and presidential candidates for him to resign.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Northam apologized for the racist yearbook photo from his 1984 medical school yearbook. It shows men in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan robe. Now, Northam said he could not recall which figure he was in the photo, and he vowed to finish his term. He did, though, confirm that he is one of those men.

Joining us now from Richmond, CNN politics reporter Dan Merica. So Dan, the governor told allies he is planning a press conference today. What more do you know about that?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: We have not been told what time that press conference will be, but you're exactly right, the governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, is holding on to his job very tenuously at this point. He woke up this morning behind me at the governor's mansion really as a man without a party. And he didn't have much support going into late last night, but that really fell out from under him after a series of statements from both sides of the Democratic legislature here in Virginia as well as and from his predecessor, Terry McAuliffe, who called on him to resign after speaking with Northam about this fallout.

You can actually see behind that there's a protest behind me going on outside the governor's mansion here. They're calling on him to resign and they're calling on him to step down so that the lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, can take over. So far that has not been the word out of the governor's office. Yesterday, he released a video statement saying that he was sorry but he pledged to continue his term in office. Take a listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA: I have spent the past year as your governor fighting for a Virginia that works better for all people. I am committed to continuing that fight through the remainder of my term and living up to the expectations you set for me when you elected me to serve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MERICA: What followed after that was a cascade of calls, not just here in Virginia but nationally, Democrats weighing in, saying it was time for Northam to go. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, and most recently, actually just right before we came on, Joe Biden called for Northam to step down. That is increasing the pressure.

But really what damaged Northam the most were those statements from people here in Virginia, people he has worked with intimately who called on him to go. What now we're waiting for is what Fairfax, Justin Fairfax, the lieutenant governor has to say. We're told that the governor and lieutenant governor spoke last night, but the person who told us that did not describe what was said in that conversation, and Fairfax has not publicly weighed in on what he thinks of the fallout.

BLACKWELL: Dan, have you spoken to any of the protesters there?

MERICA: Yes. They're fired up. Right before we came on, they gave a few speeches about why they were here. They're holding signs that are not only calling for Northam to go but expressly calling for Fairfax to take over as soon as possible. What is not lost on any of these protestors and really anyone here in Richmond is the historic context with this photo and with what's happening now. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy, and as you'll remember, in 2017, Charlottesville is just a few miles down the road across Virginia. That was the sight of protests and really conflicts over the Confederate monuments in Charlottesville. That's not lost on people here. And they're giving speeches saying it is time for Northam to go, to put this past them and try to grow from it.

I actually asked them during those speeches how many of them voted for Ralph Northam when he ran for election in 2017. Nearly all of them raised their hand and said they would like their vote back. Victor and Christi?

BLACKWELL: Dan Merica for us there in Richmond. Dan, thanks so much.

PAUL: We want to now bring in Congressman Andre Carson, Democrat from Indiana. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us.

REP. ANDRE CARSON, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What a pleasure. Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely. What do you think needs to happen? Does he need to step down?

CARSON: Well, I echo the sentiment of my friend and colleague, Congressman Don McEachin who is from Virginia. He knows better than I do. I think he served with then Senator Northam, and he mentioned in the press release his record as a senator. But this is very disturbing. I think many of us can claim youthful indiscretions, however, he was an adult. Given the legacy of the Ku Klux Klan, given the hurtful legacy of blackface, he should have known better. I think he is young enough to have known better.

[10:05:09] And I think in a very real sense it speaks to the climate in which we live in where you have white supremacists growing at an alarming rate. We're seeing hate crimes against Muslims, against African-Americans, Latinos, members of the LGBTQ community. And I think these pictures are just a painful reminder that we have a long way to go in this country as it relates to race relations.

PAUL: I want to listen real quickly to what Governor Northam said in his statement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RALPH NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA: That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes it represents does not reflect the person I am today or the way that I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor, and a public servant. I am deeply sorry. I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behavior caused then and today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Congressman, is it fair to accept that he is not the same person today as he was then, and does it matter?

CARSON: I certainly understand that all of us evolve throughout life, but right now I'm taking cues from folks in Virginia, I'm certainly taking cues from my congressional colleagues and friends, Congressman Bobby Scott and Congress Don McEachin.

PAUL: He has enjoyed a broad African-American support since he was elected. Do you see anyone coming to his defense?

CARSON: Not at this point. Again, I'm taking ques from my congressional colleagues, Bobby Scott, and Don McEachin regarding this matter. I think they served with him, they worked with him, they know him better than I do. I can only go by pictures, I can only go by reports. And again, taking a picture in blackface, even with the Klansman hood on, I think is unacceptable and worthy of resignation.

PAUL: So that's what I would like to ask you. He says that he does not know which person he is in that picture. Does it matter that he figures that out and owns it?

CARSON: I don't think it matters, whether you were in a Klansman uniform or whether you were in blackface, both are equally offensive. I think given the history of racism in our history, given the history of the Ku Klux Klan, their attacks on African-Americans, their attacks on Catholics, Jewish brothers and sisters, they've evolved, as it were, and so they're not as detectible in today's time, but their efforts and outreach are still the same and still felt. And let's not even talk about blackface and the destructive legacy of blackface and its contribution to the broken psychology in the African-American minds throughout history. PAUL: Congressman Carson, thank you so much. Do stay with us if you

would, please. We have some breaking news on Russia and we'd love to get your thoughts on that as well as a member of course of the intelligence committee. This morning, we are learning that Russia is going to build a new supersonic nuclear missile after the U.S. backed out of a cold war missile. We're going to talk about that on the other side of the break.

BLACKWELL: Plus, it's Super Bowl weekend in Atlanta, and the city is alive. One more day of practice for the Patriots and the Rams. Coming up, we will hear how players deal with those pre-game nerves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:12:28] BLACKWELL: Moscow is responding after the U.S. said it is withdrawing from the INF nuclear missile treaty. This morning Vladimir Putin says Russia will begin constructing a new, medium range supersonic nuclear missile.

PAUL: The INF agreement was signed with the USSR during the cold war with an intention to prevent an arms race. CNN's Oren Liebermann is live from Moscow for us now. So Oren, what else are you hearing from the Kremlin?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russian president Vladimir Putin following a meeting with his defense minister and foreign minister called this essentially a tit for tat exchange with the United States. Russia has been expecting a move like this from the U.S. for quite some time now. Diplomatic efforts to try to bring the two sides together to some sort of agreement have not worked out in recent weeks. Russia it seems expected a U.S. suspension or withdrawal of INF, and Russia had their response very much ready.

So what is INF? As you pointed out, this was signed between the U.S. and the USSR back in 1987 after the dissolution of the USSR. It applied to Russia and five other countries, tried to be an arms control treaty limiting the range of missiles to between roughly 300 miles and 3,500 miles. There are exemptions for air launched and sea launched weapons. But the idea was to have agreement between then the world's two super powers to make sure that there was nonproliferation and an arms control treaty.

That has now fallen by the wayside with the U.S. suspension. The U.S. did give Russia 180 days to come into compliance, but it seems that neither the U.S. nor the Europeans and NATO are optimistic about Russia's intentions there. In fact, Putin also said this morning that essentially now that the treaty is gone we're going to further develop what is known as the Kalibr missile, a sea-based hypersonic missile, and we're going to make it ground based, which would be a blatant violation of a treaty that no longer seems to hold water, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Oren Liebermann, thank you so much. Appreciate the update.

BLACKWELL: With us now, Samantha Vinograd, CNN national security analyst and former national security adviser under President Obama. Sam, good morning to you.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Good morning.

BLACKWELL: First we want to show you this cover from "New York Daily News" today. It's just a game of one-upmanship playing out between Trump and Putin. This element here says playing with fire, a big mushroom cloud here. What do you think about this? Is this too much, too far?

VINOGRAD: It is not too much, too far, in the sense that we are facing potentially a nuclear wild west, Victor. The withdrawal from the INF treaty because of Russian violations really does beg the question as to whether we're going to be living in a world where there are not nonproliferation regimes that govern both the testing, the development, and the use of nuclear weapons.

[10:15:06] But the larger point that I really want to stress here, Victor, is that Russia does not need nuclear weapons to attack us. We are currently under live attack by the Russian government using something a heck of a lot cheaper than nuclear weapons, and that is cyber warriors and information warriors. So while we focus on the president's willingness to confront Russia over its nuclear treaty violations, it is very striking that he is seemingly unwilling to confront Vladimir Putin about the assets that he is actually using to attack us as we speak.

PAUL: So former Secretary of State Colin Powell said last night it is dangerous to do, meaning pull out of the treaty for the U.S., and the U.S. will regret doing so. Do you believe that it's dangerous? What is, in your opinion, the most impending threat here?

VINOGRAD: The most impending threat is that Vladimir Putin no longer has to hide any violations of this treaty. In the past, he had to go to at least some lengths to try to hide the fact that he has been building these weapons that violate terms of the treaty. And it's not only the United States that believes that he is in violation. Our NATO allies actually supported our decision publicly and said and agree that Russia is violating terms of the treaty. So at this point it is kind of a no holds barred situation. Vladimir Putin can continue to violate the treaty now openly. And the real question is, what are we actually going to do to punish him? Are there going to be more sanctions? We haven't implemented sanctions related to his chemical weapons use. Are we going to implement sanctions to punish this noncompliance? And will any other allies join us in that endeavor?

BLACKWELL: What do you make of the argument from some who support the U.S.'s withdrawal from INF treaty that in some part this is related to having to crackdown on China, that they have to bring China into this fold and make sure they're not going where the Soviets were going 30 years ago.

VINOGRAD: It is an argument based upon the fact that China is, if it was a party to the treaty, would be in violation of it based upon its pretty extensive buildup of short and medium range missiles. At this point I think it's going to be very hard to negotiate a separate agreement with China based upon our inconsistent approach to nuclear weapons around the world. We are currently engaged with North Korea in discussions where we're not willing to call out their noncompliance with their commitments. We've now walked away from a treaty with Russia. I don't see that there's any basis under which China would say OK, we really want to get into this discussion with the United States, we trust them and we want to give away these weapons. It seems unlikely to me.

BLACKWELL: All right, Samantha Vinograd, thanks so much.

VINOGRAD: Thanks.

PAUL: I want to bring back Congressman Andre Carson to talk about this. He's a Democrat from Indiana, member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for sticking around and being patient.

CARSON: Thank you.

PAUL: We appreciate it, just to make sure the viewers were completely apprised of all the elements of the story. With that said, Sam was talking about implementing sanctions. Do you agree that that might be a way to go at this point?

CARSON: I certainly do. I don't think that we should act unilaterally to stoke a new nuclear arms race. I do, however, think that we have to be very serious and deliberate. We need constraints in place, but that doesn't mean that America has to escalate in this process. What is clear is that we've really been too soft on Russia, given the grave violations that we have seen, particularly with the interference in our electoral process and now with the controversy surrounding the Mueller investigations and the indictments that have been handed down. Russia is a clear and present threat.

The president has been too soft on Vladimir Putin, he's been to soft on Russia. I think it is time for us to really think seriously about implementing sanctions and get to root causes of it. Russia is still a threat. We can recall 1987, I was 12, going on 13 that year, remembering when Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan signed that treaty. It is important that we cannot forget that now that we have Vladimir Putin, former KGB, he is still a threat. And he is in a race to be number one globally. We can't let that happen.

PAUL: The president would say that he has been tough on Russia, that he has implemented sanctions on them, and when we look at Russia, they invaded Crimea, they've interfered in the elections, there are questions abound regarding Russia's willingness to even comply with the INF regulations which now they're dismissing this morning. Is there any way you really think to encourage, to solidify Russia honoring that treaty?

CARSON: I think we have to get tougher on Russia. I think we have to let Russia know that we mean business. I think that Russia has continually violated our air space. They've taunted us in many ways. Again, they've imposed themselves in our election, they've inserted themselves in our elections, and so they're really testing us globally.

[10:20:08] It's almost as if they don't care, especially as it relates to Donald Trump. We need leadership that's going to be tough on Russia and will really let Russia know. We don't need symbolic sanctioning. We need hard, concretized sanctions that will make them realize America is not playing.

PAUL: So as a member of the Intelligence Committee, who do you want to talk to? What do you want to know?

CARSON: Well, we're looking forward to speaking to Michael Cohen next week. I think Chairman Schiff is very capable. We have the cream of the crop as it were in terms of members on the committee. I'm excited about Democrats being in control. We're going to bring dignity back to this very prestigious committee. Those on the committee, even Republicans included, we take our jobs very seriously. As a former police officer, as someone who has worked in counterterrorism at the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, I understand the global threats that exist. And Russia, as I said at the beginning of the talk, is a threat and it continues to be a threat, so these hearings will be revelatory. So stay tuned.

PAUL: All right, Congressman Andre Carson, we appreciate you so much taking time to be with us and to stay with us for a couple of blocks here. Thank you.

CARSON: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Seems there is another reversal from manufacturing company Foxconn, that's the electronics company based in Taiwan. It says it will produce flat-screen panels at a new plant in Wisconsin. That announcement comes shortly after President Trump spoke to the Foxconn chairman Terry Gou. Earlier this week, the company announced they were reconsidering manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin and removing those from the facility. That announcement agitated the president. That's because President Trump touted that plant as proof of manufacturing jobs moving back to the United States.

PAUL: Moments ago, Bernie Sanders is speaking out, just moments ago, calling for resignation of the Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. He is the latest politician to weigh in on Northam's racist 1984 yearbook photo. We're going to talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:26:31] PAUL: It's 26 minutes past the hour right now. Thank you for being with us. I'm Christi Paul.

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

This morning Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden have now both called for the resignation of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. Biden and Sanders add to a number of political figures on both sides who expressing their disdain, let's call it, for Northam's actions. But Northam claims to have a strong record on race related issues. He says he has had broad African-American support during his time in office. A CNN exit poll data shows that Northam won 87 percent of the African American vote in the 2017 race for governor. And in 2017, Northam was also endorsed by President Obama.

But the Virginia governor has a questionable past when it comes to race related issues. Let's discuss now. Joining me now is Republican strategist Brian Robinson, and former Obama 2012 South Regional Director Tharon Johnson. Welcome back to both of you. Let's start here. A member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus says that Northam told him he can't even remember which one he is. So either he is lying because there's no upside to being the person in the blackface or the one in the hood, or it's unremarkable from that time in his life that I could be the one in blackface, or maybe I'm the one in the hood. How is that possible that you can't remember putting that on your face and putting the hood on?

THARON JOHNSON, FORMER SOUTHERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR, OBAMA 2012: This is very, very bad for the governor. He even came out and said that picture in that yearbook was racist, it was insensitive. And he basically tried to apologize to people of Virginia and also the American people now. But therein lies the point. It is like his PR since the photo has been released has just been terrible. He comes out and basically apologizes, in a video, but then he also releases a statement. And to your point, can't remember if he was blackface or the KKK member.

BRIAN ROBINSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Of course he remembers.

BLACKWELL: So you just think it's lie. There's no upside, why even --

ROBINSON: Absolutely. And let me say on the front end, I have never worn either of those costumes or whatever you call them, so I don't know. But it seems to me if you're smearing grease at any point in time at your life, or you wear a pointed hood, that you remember that. That's not something you unless were just blackout drunk that you forget.

BLACKWELL: Or you've done it so many times that you don't remember which time this photo was taken.

ROBINSON: I think it would be more photographic evidence if that was something regular. I would think that would have come out at some juncture. What I'm interested in seeing here is that the Democrats invented the yearbook standard. And now one of their own has been hoisted on that petard. So Republicans are getting a little bit of the revenge on what happened to Kavanaugh, although Democrats were having to go out and make up stuff about Kavanaugh's yearbook, interpreting what teenage code meant. This case it's pretty cut and dry.

JOHNSON: I'm not going to inject partisanship in this. So that was a good stand by my good friend, Brian. The bottom line is whether he was a Democrat or a Republican, he basically, we don't know, either painted his face black or dressed up in a KKK uniform, which is absolutely the embodiment of racism that so many people like Dr. King fought to end in this country. The thing that's really baffling to me, Victor, is that in this day

and age, which we know that Republicans spend an enormous amount of money on research against Democrats, that this didn't come up during the campaign. And so therein lies the challenge. But it is not about being a Democrat or Republican. It is about what he was pictured doing at a time when we were trying to move forward as Americans.

[10:30:3] ROBINSON: And what really disgusts me is they really slurred the Republican opponent, Ed Gillespie, last year as a racist. He is an honorable, decent man. And so this is just hypocrisy.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this. You worked for the governor. At some point he is going to become bad for business in Virginia, because we can look to the protests against North Carolina, the bathroom bill, we can look to the protests against Indiana with the religious freedom bill. Do you think he makes it to Monday?

ROBINSON: There's only way he does it, and that is to do a video address, TV address to the people of Virginia and say, I served my nation in uniform on the frontlines in war. I made serious mistakes. I was young and I did not understand what this meant. I did not understand how hurtful this was. I have spent the last 30 years of my life trying to redeem myself by serving my community, and that includes African-Americans. That is just one way. He's got to speak from the heart.

BLACKWELL: At 25, you don't know what a KKK hood or blackface is? You're in medical school.

ROBINSON: He definitely knew what a KKK hat was.

BLACKWELL: And not blackface? Come on. He has got to know.

ROBINSON: I'm not defending it. No.

BLACKWELL: But you're a communications professional, and maybe that's the only way he does it, but I don't know how many buy that at 25 in Virginia you don't know what blackface means historically. We've got to move on to one other thing here.

ROBINSON: Just last year we saw Megyn Kelly say this isn't so bad. I think there are a lot of people who don't understand how hurtful --

BLACKWELL: Last week, we had the now former Florida secretary of state who was dressed in 2005 in blackface as a Katrina victim. His quote was there's nothing I can say, and then he resigned. Northam is trying to hold on.

Let's move on to one other thing. Cory Booker announced his candidacy for the presidency yesterday. And this is what we heard from the counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think Cory Booker often sounds like a Hallmark card, and not necessarily a person who is there to tell you everything he has accomplished in the United States Senate and as mayor of Newark.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Hallmark card, Brian?

ROBINSON: I don't know exactly what that means. But I can tell you what I think about Cory Booker. I think the image of him that has been seared in many American's minds is what happened during the Kavanaugh hearings last year. I think for many folks --

BLACKWELL: You are really on the Kavanaugh hearings.

ROBINSON: It's very important today. I thought he and Harris and some of the other Democratic senators really hurt themselves with middle America because they were so aggressive, and they were so judgmental.

BLACKWELL: Is she trying to say he is soft? Hallmark card, some people may say --

ROBINSON: It sounds vacuous, I think she means vacuous.

BLACKWELL: Some people may need a Hallmark card after the president has been calling people horse face for the last two-and-a-half years and insulting his opponents.

JOHNSON: And so to move on from the Virginia situation, I do think that the reason why you have this conversation that we're having about the governor of Virginia is because of the sort of radicalism that we have heard from this White House. We're a country right now that's very, very against any type of acts of racism, and we're not tolerant to any display of it.

But back to Cory Booker. I know Cory Booker personally. He is a great U.S. senator, he was a phenomenal mayor in Newark. And let me tell you this, to say that he is a hallmark card is just a blatant insult. Kellyanne Conway should apologize to him. But this is the type of behavior that Donald Trump condones. And so I think what they're also trying to say --

ROBINSON: Please don't say that was racist. It was not racist.

JOHNSON: I didn't say it was racist, but to come out and basically say a U.S. senator is basically a hallmark card, with basically infers that there's nothing there, to that was amazing.

BLACKWELL: Let me jump in. I've got to jump in here, because we just got this in, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, also a candidate for president, was in New Hampshire and she weighed in on the Northam scandal. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D) NEW YORK: He should resign. And I saw the photo after I saw you guys last night, so disturbing, so racist. There's no place for racism in our government, among our leaders. It really just was so disturbing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Quickly.

TOOBIN: The common thread we're seeing, Victor, between all these presidential candidates, by the way, who are Democrats running for president, is that you have to tell this governor to resign, because you're about to run in a primary all across the nation where African- Americans are the overwhelming majority of the votes. But what I want to see is this. I want more Republicans. Brian wants to come out and say this type of stuff is not tolerated. Brian actually has said many, many times that the Republican Party needs to back up words with deeds to expand the party. Right now, when you've got Senator Mitch McConnell who basically says I don't want more people to vote, because they're going to vote for Democrats, it's all good that these Democratic presidential candidates are doing that, but they have to. They're about to run these areas. I want more Republican leaders to come out and join them if they feel that this governor should resign.

ROBINSON: I'll say this on Gillibrand, is that she needs to be really careful about condemning people for things they did in the past because she has done a lot of things that are way too conservative in her more recent past for a Democratic primary electorate.

[10:35:5] She is going to have a lot of explaining to do about her early political career when she was much more pro-gun and much more conservative than she is now. And so if you are responsible for everything you ever did, she's going to pay a price for that.

BLACKWELL: That may be more forgivable than appearing in blackface.

ROBINSON: Sure. I agree.

(LAUGHTER)

BLACKWELL: Brian, Tharon, thank you both.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Christi?

PAUL: So the days leading up to the Super Bowl include a concert series featuring Georgia artist, prominent activist. We're going to talk to the man that puts it together, music executive and producer Jermaine Dupri is with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: Live pictures of Mercedes-Benz stadium. We are just one day away now from Patriots, Rams for Super Bowl LIII.

[10:40:04] The week before the Super Bowl is not just about football. Fans who come to Atlanta ahead of the game have a series of -- there's a lot of stuff to do to stay busy, there's a lot of entertainment before the game. Just a couple of blocks from CNN center, the city is hosting a free concert series featuring Georgia artists. Super Bowl Live is produced by our next guest, Atlanta based producer and record executive Jermaine Dupri. He is also keeping an eye on important social issues by giving a platform to activists. Thanks for coming in.

JERMAINE DUPRI, SONGWRITER/MUSIC PRODUCER: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: OK, so this is the last night of the Super Bowl live concert series. It's been going on for what, 10 days now?

DUPRI: Six.

BLACKWELL: Six day.

DUPRI: Today is the sixth day.

BLACKWELL: OK, sixth day. Monica is on stage tonight.

DUPRI: Yes.

BLACKWELL: And we understand that you're giving a platform to people and focusing on a lot of issues, but one of them police brutality. Tell us how about you're doing that.

DUPRI: Actually, it is changing now, because it was a miscommunication with --

BLACKWELL: We'll talk about that.

DUPRI: -- my representative. But I wanted to have a meeting with seven parents whose kids were killed by police brutality.

BLACKWELL: These are Mothers of the Movement.

DUPRI: Yes, Mothers of the Movement. I had a conversation with them. I filmed it and put it on my Instagram so people could see exactly what was going on. But I wanted to have the sides and hear from both sides of what's going on. And then I wanted them to understand my position, because a lot of people were getting at me for being a part of this. And this is more about this city than Super Bowl to me.

BLACKWELL: And when you say people are coming at you for being part of this, this is part of several artists standing in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick who is suing the league, accusing them of collusion in response to his taking a protest to bring awareness to police brutality. How are you navigating this space between your relationship with the league and hosting this series, and a lot of fans who think you shouldn't?

DUPRI: The separation is simple. I mean, I'm from Atlanta, you know what I mean? I'm the only person in the city with a song called welcome to Atlanta. It is hard for me to turn my back on the city. I'm not performing the Super Bowl, so it is not like, what I'm doing. And that's why I did it, I did it with Atlanta artists and Georgia artists just to make sure that people from out of town understand how rich our music culture is in this city and how deep it goes, even before Jermaine Dupri. So it was other things that this backdrop allowed me to do. And that's how I separate. I want people to understand my doing is all about Atlanta and making sure that people see how rich the city is with music.

BLACKWELL: So you plan to give Mothers of the Movement, these black mothers whose sons have been killed by police or by gun violence, a platform during this series. Then there was a photograph that you put up on Instagram, this is you with the Lombardi trophy at Waffle House, and they were insulted by this. And released a statement through the NAACP. I'm going to read it. It says "On January 5th, the Mothers of the Movement and Atlanta activists sat down with Jermaine Dupri to explain why boycotting the NFL was essential to the black community. At the end of the meeting, all parties agreed that the Mothers would speak during JD's concert to raise awareness about the unnecessary police violence and brutality in the black community. We refuse to stand alongside any individual who does not have the best interest of our community in mind." Your response to that last sentence, refusing to stand with an individual that does not have the best interest of our community in mind.

DUPRI: I don't really have much to say, because I took the meeting. The thing I said to them when I had the meeting is that, they can't -- it wasn't them. Mothers weren't the people that were doing it, but I was criticized from the beginning. And nobody reached out to me. Nobody spoke to me. They just was on the radio saying Jermaine Dupri is this bad guy. So when I spoke to them, I said you guys, all you had to do was call me, let's have a conversation, right? So with that being said, that last statement, I'm not really sure.

BLACKWELL: Their attorney, or one who represents them, Gerald Griggs, who I'm sure you're familiar with, says that they're demanding a public apology.

DUPRI: Yes.

BLACKWELL: Do you have one for them?

DUPRI: For what? We didn't get a chance to do what we were supposed to do. I am that I deserves an apology, because I'm the one who stepped up and was allowing people to do this. This was my idea. This is not something that they came to me about. I stepped to them and said this is what I want to do for you, and they decided to say no. So I don't --

BLACKWELL: All right, last night of the concert series, Super Bowl Live, Monica on stage. Jermaine Dupri, good to have you here.

DUPRI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:49:41] BLACKWELL: In this week's Mission Ahead, some of the world's top companies are teaming up to cut down on plastic waste.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM SZAKY, CEO, TERRACYCLE: Loop is effectively a reboot of the milkman but in a very, very modern way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With Loop, when you shop online Haagen-Dazs ice cream, Dove deodorant, or one of the other 300 or so available products, they'll be delivered to your door, in a new, durable packaging inside a reusable shipping tote.

[10:50:08] They'll cost about the same as ones you buy in the store, but you pay refundable deposit for the container.

SZAKY: And then when you're empty, without any cleaning, just like a disposable experience, you throw it back in your Loop bin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And instead of going to the landfill or recycling plant, Loop products will be picked up, cleaned, refilled, and ultimately reused by another customer.

SZAKY: It moves from disposable to reusable, which is a huge upgrade for the environment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nestle decided to launch on Loop with five flavors of its' Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

KIM PEDDLE-RGUEM, PRESIDENT, NESTLE USA ICE CREAM: Project Loop is a way for us to tip our toe into this territory and really learn a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To do that, teams had to completely reimagine the traditional pint made of coated paper.

PEDDLE-RGUEM: We have designed the package itself with stainless steel which allows it to keep the product cold much longer than a regular ice cream package would.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In May, 2019, Loop will launch in just New York and Paris, with only several-thousand customers in each city. But Loop requires a ton of shipping.

SZAKY: There's absolutely an impact of reuse. But if you compare that to the impact of making new packaging, reuse becomes somewhere between 50 to 75 percent better for the environment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will consumers be willing to give up the plastic life-style to get on board?

SZAKY: How many people poured hand soap into a nicer container when the get home, pour their coffee into a nicer container when they get home. If that behavior is there, wouldn't anyone prefer that I just give it to you like that? And by the way, it eliminates the entire concept of waste in the process.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Breaking news about Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. You'll remember, the Virginia Democratic Party is calling for the resignation of the governor. In a statement just a moment ago, the chairwoman of the party, Susan Swecker said this, "We made the decision to let Governor Northam do the correct thing and resign this morning. We have gotten word he will not do so this morning."

Now, we don't know if this means that he will not resign or if he will not resign this morning. We know that there is a news conference that is scheduled for some time today, so maybe it's the timing she's discussing here, but this is an important element that head of the Virginia Democratic Party, Chairwoman Swecker says, that they've learned that the governor will not resign this morning.

Northam, as you know, has faced that growing backlash over the racist yearbook photo of him from 1984 in medical school showing men in blackface and a Ku Klux Klan robe. Another member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus there says that the governor told them he doesn't recall which man is him. He says that he doesn't remember if he is in blackface or if he's in the hood. We'll see what the governor has to say when he has a news conference. Christi?

PAUL: We sure will, Victor. But listen, we're going to light it up here because it's Super Bowl Sunday almost, one day away. Practicing for the Patriots and the Rams going on. There is somebody, a very special someone to CNN, who knows exactly what it's like, the nerves, the feelings. MVP Hines Ward is talking to us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:27] PAUL: So one day away from Super Bowl LIII, and one person who knows what it is like, Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward. And I love talking to you about what might be going through their minds, but you said specifically this is the first Super Bowl for somebody.

HINES WARD, CNN SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: If it's the first time, as a kid, this is what you dreamed about, to one day play in the Super Bowl, the biggest game ever in a lot of these guys' minds. And my point is, if this is your first Super Bowl, the nerves, the excitement, the anxiety is wrapped up in one.

PAUL: You said you couldn't sleep, right?

WARD: I couldn't sleep. The night before the Super Bowl, I was like what do I do? You're playing the game in your mind, if I make this play, if I make this play. And then you try to get some sleep. But then I woke up at 2:00 and I'll I kept looking was that clock.

PAUL: Do you really go over plays in your head?

WARD: Yes. You have to play the game, situational football, put yourself in position, if I get this coverage, I want to do this, I want to do this. And that's all you have to do is play the game in your mind. And that's what the players are going to go through.

PAUL: I know a lot of people are going to be watching in this particular game age versus experience. What's your take on that?

WARD: I lean towards the experience side because my first time I remember going out in pregame warmups and saw the celebs on the sidelines. They were like, let's go Hines, represent.

PAUL: That has got to be a moment.

WARD: I was out there, Christi, I'm catching and showing out. I came back into the locker room, I was drenched. I wore myself out during pregame, and I tried to drink some Gatorade. It was the first and only time I've ever thrown up before the game.

PAUL: You did?

WARD: So the nerves and the anxiety of playing the Super Bowl, that what's comes in playing the big game.

PAUL: So take me to that moment when you win it.

WARD: When you win it, words can't describe the feeling. All the big things that you thought about growing up as a little kid, it was almost surreal. I couldn't believe I'm sitting there holding the trophy, holding my son, and the confetti. Words can't describe. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

PAUL: And real quickly, you played against Tom Brady.

WARD: Yes, 41 years old, the guy is still doing it. That's what's cool about it. So I lean towards Tom Brady in this one.

PAUL: Good to know. Hines Ward, we so appreciate you. So glad you're part of the team here. And listen, we're going to have much more later on CNN today. Kickoff in Atlanta special, Dave Briggs, Coy Wire, this guy coming right back. They're going to get you ready for the game. That is today at 2:30 eastern right here on CNN.

Thank you so for watching. I hope you make good some memories today. Let's head over to our wonderful colleague Fredricka Whitfield.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I love that view, Christi.

PAUL: It is gorgeous, isn't it?

WHITFIELD: It's a gorgeous stadium anyway, but then for the Super Bowl, it's all gussied up and decorated. It's like one beautiful jewel.