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CNN NEWSROOM

Virginia Governor Will Not Resign Over Racist Yearbook Photo; Protests Outside VA Governor's Mansion; Political Activist Vivian Paige Responds to Northam's Racist Yearbook Photo; Trump Slams Pelosi as "Rigid" & Hints at New Strategy to Get Wall; Trump Calls Wall Negotiations "Waste of Time," Still Considering Declaring National Emergency; Kirsten Gillibrand Calls on Northam to Resign; Washington State Health Secretary Discusses Rising Measles Cases; Colin Kaepernick's Attorneys Sue NFL for "Blackballing" over National Anthem Kneeling Protest; British House of Commons Speaker Champions "Dissident Minority" in Brexit Debate. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 2, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Triplets separated at birth discovering the most amazing, incredible, remarkable true story. CNN Film's "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS" airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

We've got more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM. It starts right now.

All right. Hello, again, everyone. Thank you for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We're following breaking news. Virginia Democratic Governor Ralph Northam has no plans to resign. And now he says he believes it was not him in this racist photo from his medical school yearbook, according to a Democratic source. A big flip from last night where he confirmed this was a photo in his yearbook and he was among the images there. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: We'll hear from the governor, Governor Northam, in about an hour and a half, which is when he's scheduled to address the cameras, address the public. And of course, we'll bring that to you live as it happens.

Meantime, let's start with CNN's Jessica Dean in Richmond, Virginia.

So you're there outside of the governor's mansion. Has anyone seen him? We know there have been a number of protesters, demonstrators, right? People have showed up to express themselves in all of this.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fredricka, that's right. Protesters were here this morning. It's a little quiet as we get closer to when we're expecting to hear that statement from the governor at 2:30.

But you know what? I go back to that video, that you just played everyone, where he was talking about my behavior, you know, the thing I did. And today, now, the governor coming out and saying, I don't believe it was me, it wasn't me, I believe the photos were mixed up, according to the source we have talked to. And we're also hearing from his spokesperson he will not resign today.

Let me set the backdrop amongst him coming out -- or the spokesperson saying he's not going to resign. He has lost the support of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, of the Virginia House and Senate Democrats, of the Democratic Party of Virginia. Also, former governor, Terry McAuliffe, under whom Ralph Northam served as lieutenant governor, has come out and asked him to resign as well. All these groups calling for the governor to resign. Not to mention a host of the 2020 candidates who have come out and called for his resignation as well as Vice President Joe Biden and others.

And I want to take you back also to the original statement the governor put out yesterday as this picture began to circulate yesterday. Let's put that up now. It read, "Earlier today, a Web site published a photo of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive. I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo." That was the original apology yesterday.

Right now, as we wait to hear from the governor, he is telling people, according to a source, that is not him in the photo. That he believes the photos were mixed up.

So, Fredricka, a lot more to come from Virginia as we wait to hear from the governor himself.

WHITFIELD: Jessica Dean, thank you so much.

We're going to take that live when it happens.

Let's talk more about this. Joining me right now, political activist, Vivian Paige.

Vivian, glad you could be with us.

Describe for me that what is like for you. You have known this governor since he first ran for office, and now to see this image and to hear his words last night and now to hear him apparently tell a colleague that that's not a photo of him, what has this rollercoaster been like for you?

VIVIAN PAIGE, POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Well, it's been difficult for me because I've known Ralph since he entered politics in 2006. When he entered politics, it seems like he was going to be -- certainly a good Democrat of how he was going to represent the party and represent the people within the area. So Ralph lives not far from me. I've known him and worked with him all these years. This has been one of the most disappointing things I've ever seen. I've never quite experienced something like this.

The other thing I will mention is Ralph and I are one year apart in age. Being one year apart in age means I know what I was doing in 1984 and I certainly was not doing that.

[13:05:11] WHITFIELD: OK. So do you remember roughly what you were doing in 1984? I mean, I remember, I was a college student at that time in 1984. And his first -- one of his first responses was, you know, that he doesn't really recall which one he could have been in this photograph. And 30 years ago, you know, you might remember if you were in that photograph, which one you were. So what did you think about that sentiment from him?

PAIGE: Well, I thought that was a little bit unusual. Because, of course, in 1984, choosing photographs to be on a page is something that you would actually have known that you did. Whether or not Ralph is in either one of those costumes is not what is relevant to me. What's relevant to me is he made a choice to include those pictures. And that kind of behavior's not acceptable. It's not acceptable certainly in 2019. But it wasn't acceptable back in 1984 either. We were -- I was three years out of college. Ralph was in medical school. I was working. I was contributing to society and doing all those things that people do when they're 24 years old. Ralph was 25. He should have known better.

WHITFIELD: Yes. So some of the things he has said in the statement last night, you know, that photo does not reflect the person I am today. He did even say that photo of me, was, you know, another quote from him. And he said, "I can't change the decisions I made." So today he's scheduled to speak at 2:30. What are you hoping he will say, Governor Northam will say?

PAIGE: Well, my number-one thing I want him to say is he's resigning. I've been very clear that you can't possibly lead the diverse party that is the Democratic Party and have this kind of thing in your background. I understand. I do really truly understand forgiveness. And I understand people growing, I really do. I am willing to accept that Ralph today might not be the person he was back then. But the other part of it is that was unacceptable behavior then. So that's where I'm hung up. That was unacceptable behavior when we were 24 and 25 years old. So it's just so unacceptable and makes it difficult for anyone to be able to break away from our racist past. Virginia has a long history of not being the most welcoming place to be.

WHITFIELD: Right. And he was a medical student at Eastern Virginia Medical School, in medical school to potentially take care of people, all people. There's a Hippocratic Oath that would be taken upon completion. So this image being a representation of him on his Paige in that yearbook.

I mean, you talk about how confusing this is for you as a friend. Earlier, I spoke with the chair of the, you know, Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Mr. Bagby. He described it as being hurtful and painful. And he still referred to him as a friend. But that he thought the right thing to do would be for Governor Northam to step down.

What. if anything -- if he does not resign what, if anything, can the governor say to help heal so many who have been pained by this image?

PAIGE: I'm not sure he can say anything to be perfectly honest. This image is just so offensive. Yes, it certainly has been hurtful to those of us who have worked with Ralph, who have known Ralph for his entire political career. It's been extremely hurtful. But I don't know how he can say anything that is going to mitigate that. In my sense, the only thing that Ralph can say and should say is I apologize to the people of Virginia and I hereby resign because I will no longer be an effective leader.

WHITFIELD: It speaks to your friendship because you refer to the governor as "Ralph," so this is --

(CROSSTALK)

PAIGE: He's a neighbor. What can I say?

WHITFIELD: This is personal for you, absolutely.

PAIGE: Yes, it is. Very much so.

WHITFIELD: Vivian Paige, thank you so much. Vivian Paige, appreciate your thoughts. Appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

PAIGE: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: Of course.

And, of course, we will be carrying the governor's comments. Again, they're scheduled for 2:30. When it happens.

[13:09:50] Still ahead, President Trump slams House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as "rigid." I'm quoting him, "rigid." He hints at a new strategy to get his wall. What is that strategy? And will it work?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. For President Trump, it's wall or nothing. As the president grows seemingly frustrated with negotiations over border security, he's ripping Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a new interview with CBS's "Face the Nation."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think that she was very rigid, which I would expect. But I think she is very bad for our country. She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point. I happen to think it's very bad politics. Basically, she wants open borders. She doesn't mind human trafficking or she wouldn't do this. Because you know the traffickers --

UNIDENTIFIED CBS HOST, FACE THE NATION: She offered you over $1 billion for border security.

TRUMP: Excuse me?

UNIDENTIFIED CBS HOST, FACE THE NATION: She offered over $1 billion for border security. She doesn't want the wall.

TRUMP: She's -- she's costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars. Because what's happening is, when you have a porous border and when you have drugs pouring in and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi, who don't want to give proper border security for political reasons, she's doing a terrible disservice to our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[13:15:11] WHITFIELD: Democrats and Republicans have less than two weeks to work out agreement and avert another government shutdown, but the president says the talks are, I'm quoting now, "a waste of time."

CNN White House reporter, Sarah Westwood, is in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the president is spending this weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

Sarah, Democrats are responding to Trump's attack against Pelosi.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Fred. Democrats are pushing back on the suggestion from President Trump they don't back any kind of border security. And they're slamming the president for leaving the door open to a second government shutdown later this month when funding runs dry. Pelosi's team is responding by accusing Trump of twisting Democrat's position on border security after Trump claims Pelosi is just playing political games by opposing the wall. Those two leaders have been trading insults. They haven't actually met face to face since January 9th, when during that contentious meeting in the White House Situation Room, Trump got up and left when talks weren't going his way. That's obviously all going to change on Tuesday when Trump goes to Capitol Hill to deliver his State of the Union address.

But Pelosi responded quickly through a spokesman yesterday to Trump's comments to CBS about her spokesman saying in a statement, "President Trump's recklessness didn't make us safer, it undermined our security, with 35 days of border patrol agents, DEA agents, FBI agents and Homeland Security personnel missing paychecks. Democrats have put forward strong, smart and effective border security solutions in the bipartisan conference committee, while the president still refuses to take a second shutdown off the table." He goes on to say, "The president's wild and predictable misrepresentations about Democrats and border security do not doing make our country safer."

Trump has called those negotiations in conference committee a waste of time. He's saying he has low expectations that we'll see any kind of breakthrough from those talks.

Congressional Democrats did put forward their opening offer on Wednesday. It contained billions of dollars for border security items, like new technology, like beefing up security at ports of entry, but it did not include one single penny for the wall. Not even for repairs to existing fences. Basically, included nothing that President Trump could try to spin as a victory for his administration.

So, Fred, with two weeks left in this negotiating period, Trump is again returning to his threats to declare a national emergency.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood, thank you so much.

Let's talk further about all this. With me right now, CNN political analysts, Rachael Bade and Molly Ball.

Good to see both of you.

Rachael, you first.

The president is calling the speaker, you know, bad, very bad for our country, and he's just days away from entering her House, so to speak, upon her invitation for the State of the Union on Tuesday. I mean this does not set the stage very well for, you know, cordial pleasantries, nor does it set the stage for any kind of cordial negotiations.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, definitely, not going forward, like a lot of Democrats are calling the president a sore loser here. The truth is Pelosi very much defeated Trump on this whole shutdown fight. He said he was not going to reopen the government until he got his border wall and Pelosi held out, and time and pressure just bore down on the president and he ended up reopening the government without getting a single dollar for his border wall. Obviously, he's angry with Pelosi. When it comes to going forward, this does not bode well for any idea about chances for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure. There's been talk about, can Pelosi and Trump do something about infrastructure, lowering prescription drug prices. This has soured their relationship in the past few weeks and it's not going to bode well for them trying to work together throughout the year.

WHITFIELD: Molly, it's very confusing because it seems as though the image of the ground stop, all the airlines, that kind of interruption during the shutdown, is what may have moved the president. But I don't know, in his mind, that was such a long time ago he's forgotten about it? Because he's already now talking about another possible shutdown, you know, if he doesn't get his wall or at least declare a national emergency. And this, despite reportedly Mitch McConnell, you know, the Senate majority leader, apparently cautioning him against something like that. So is this just bluster perhaps in that latest new CBS interview or are we really seeing he's going to do his own thing, the president?

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know yet. Honestly, I don't think he knows yet. We see the president thinking out loud, trying to feel out his options, staking out a negotiating position. You don't want to walk into a negotiation like this and say you're willing to give up everything, so he's not going to take things off the table before the negotiation has begun.

I think it's important to remember, as Rachael said, the president did lose this last round. The Democrat's position was, reopen the government, then we'll talk, then we'll negotiate. But they never said then we'll give you the wall. In fact, they specifically said, even when you reopen the government, we're still not giving you the wall. The negotiation, however, really is not between Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi right now. The negotiation is between the members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans who are on that conference committee, and whatever back-channel talks may be going on.

(CROSSTALK)

[13:20:27] WHITFIELD: Right, and where are they, where are they on, you know, negotiations? We heard it from so many lawmakers who said, you know, let's just figure this out, Republicans and Democrats figure this stuff out. But, of course, you know, what will be needed ultimately is the president's endorsement on it.

BALL: That's right. Wouldn't be that hard for them to figure out if they knew the president would go along with what they come up with. You did hear -- I actually thought there was a softening of the president's position in that CBS interview. Because what you heard him talking about, he said barrier, but he really deemphasized the wall. He talked much more about we need border security. And so if he -- if they can talk him off of the specifically the wall concept, if they can convince him -- he tweeted the other day that the wall was already being built, that we just needed to finish it. And --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: He reiterated it yesterday, right? Unclear whether that is -- it's being disputed. It's not new wall. It may be repairs to existing barriers. But yesterday, you know, from that table, you know, with DHS secretary right alongside him, he still was talking about the need for a wall.

BADE: Yes.

BALL: That's right. I mean, Democrats and Republicans would happily get together behind something that wasn't a wall but was some kind of border security barrier stuff.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

BALL: The question is whether the president will endorse it. That was the question the first time around, too.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

BADE: I just want to add in there, I feel like the president is starting to realize that he may never get his wall. When he reopened the government, he was sort of as this mind, his advisers were saying, give Congress a couple weeks to try to negotiate something on the wall, for maybe trying to protect DREAMers, those who came here illegally as children, helping them stay in the country illegally or defer their status. Saying, no, they're not interested in DACA-for-a- wall tradeoff. His advisers have said, you can maybe do this national emergency declaration to build your wall. And as you mentioned just a few moments ago, Mitch McConnell apparently went to the White House on Tuesday and told the president, hey, if you do that, we're going to pass potentially a resolution disproving that emergency money. This is the key Republican leader in the Senate. And this is according to the "Washington Post" reporting. That is a huge deal. If his party's telling him, you can't do that, and if you do, we're going to turn against you, it's looking increasingly like the president might not get his wall at all.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Yes, if that, say, conversation happened on Tuesday, on Friday, he wasn't speaking as though that conversation moved him at all, Molly. And he's still, you know, professing this whole process to be a waste of time. So, you know, is there the public, you know, President Trump to send a signal to his base, but then privately he might be acquiescing to the point of view of Mitch McConnell?

BALL: It's certainly possible. I don't like to try to read the president's mind --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We're all trying to be psychologists right now.

BALL: Right. But, look, if he has not -- he hasn't done the emergency declaration. He's been threatening it for a long time. I think there's an increasing sense he might be bluffing about that. Because it would split his party. There would be a lot of Republican blowback. That is not something that he would probably welcome because that would be a real weakening of his status on Capitol Hill. So the question is, does he decide to go ahead and do it anyway. Nobody knows what is in his mind when it comes to something like that. What I think you see McConnell and the Republicans and also, to an extent, Pelosi and the Democrats trying to show and tell the president that the best-case scenario is if he quietly backs away from the wall. Because if he does that, he won't get criticized by Democrats. He won't get criticized by Republicans. He will take a little bit of guff from his base. But he probably is powerful enough with his base that they will follow him no matter what.

WHITFIELD: Rachael, quiet, is that possible, quietly?

BADE: I think the key thing to watch here, just remember, the president, when he reopened the government, he only did so because privately he was getting pressure from Mitch McConnell and a bunch of Senate Republicans to reopen the government and to cave on the shutdown fight. Even though he's out there, you know, looking tough and trying to look like he can declare an emergency to build his wall, the fact that Republicans are saying privately, don't do this, that really matters. It's going to carry a significant amount of weight. We just don't know how big is that resistance. How many people have talked to him? And I think this is something they're really watching. And the reason he's leaving that possibility open is because maybe he thinks he can convince them and it's OK and it won't hurt the country if he does that. But really these private expressions of disapproval by Republicans, they matter and they're significant.

[13:25:07] WHITFIELD: All fascinating.

Rachael Bade, Molly Ball, pleasure. Thank you so much.

BALL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, Democratic presidential hopefuls are now faced with how to respond to the controversy surrounding the racist photo featuring Virginia's Democratic governor. And what Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has to say, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:29:56] WHITFIELD: Another likely Democratic presidential candidate is calling on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign over that racist photo that has been linked to him. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has not yet made it official that she's running for president but the New York Democrat is campaigning hard in states with early primaries and caucuses.

Today, she has a number of events in New Hampshire where she was asked about the controversy surrounding the Virginia governor.

CNN's Athena Jones join us with more of what Gillibrand had to say about the Northam controversy -- Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred, that's right. Let's get to this sound right away. She was speaking to reporters after her first event of the morning at a woman-owned coffee shop in Nashua, New Hampshire. These are the first on-camera remarks calling on the governor to resign. Take a listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, (D), NEW YORK: He should resign. I saw the photo 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)

JONES: And so there you have it, Kirsten Gillibrand joining a growing list of politicians, elected officials saying Governor Northam should resign.

We should note, when we first asked her about this issue last night, she said she had not yet seen the photos. At that moment, she was calling for the governor to apologize. Later in the night, she sent out a tweet after seeing the pictures and said he should resign. Her first on-camera comments on the topic.

I should not we've heard -- she's answered a lot of questions from voters in the stop she's made here in the Granite State, the first state to hold a primary of course next year. No one's brought up this Governor Northam issue. Instead, they've been talking about immigrant rights, LGBT issues, criminal justice reform, a long list of other issues. But this is clearly the topic on the minds of a lot of folks in and around D.C. and Virginia.

Part of Kirsten Gillibrand's message here is the same message we've heard in Iowa. She first ran for congress in a 2-1 Republican district so she's talked about her ability to work across the aisle, to get legislation passed, working with Democrats and Republicans, finding common ground. We're hearing her stress that issue quite a bit as she makes her stops today.

She just wrapped up a walking tour here, where she visited a boutique, bought a dress that was on sale, then met with people at a bakery. There she was asked about immigrants' rights. She's now heading to a meeting with young college Democrats.

So a lot of stops here as she introduces herself to voters in the all- important first-in-the-nation primary state -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: Gillibrand one of the first to throw her hat into the ring for 2020 as a Democratic contender.

Athena Jones, thank you so much.

Still ahead, the shocking rise in measles in this country due, in large part, to parents voluntarily not vaccinating their children. The data behind that decision, next

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:37:07] WHITFIELD: Outbreaks of a potentially deadly and completely preventable disease are growing in two states. Measles, cases in New York and Washington State, are raising concerns with health officials and parents. In New York, there's been 209 cases since October, causing officials to bar more than 6,000 unvaccinated children from school over the last two months. And Washington State now has the highest number of infections since 1991, 43, all in communities with lower-than-average vaccination rates. Three additional patients have since left that state.

John Wiesman is the health secretary in Washington State. He's joining me now from Tacoma.

Secretary Wiesman, good to see you.

You said you think this outbreak is going to get even worse. Why?

JOHN WIESMAN, HEALTH SECRETARY, WASHINGTON STATE: Right. Well, thanks, Fredricka, for having us on.

There's been so many public exposures to the folks who have measles we just expect this is going to grow. Measles is a highly infectious, contagious disease, and folks can be infectious before they realize it. They can be infectious four days before a rash and four days after. We've had people out in public places, like shopping centers, schools and churches, who have, you know, put others at risk without knowing it. So we expect this is going to grow.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. So the state of emergency that you have in effect in Washington State because of this outbreak, you know, how does that help officials either contain the spread of the disease or is that the goal, to try to contain it or is it more awareness?

WIESMAN: Well, really, we are trying to contain this. The absolute best way people can do that, number one, is to get vaccinated. We want that to happen. We asked the governor to declare a state of emergency because we knew we were going to be in this for the long haul. We've been in this three weeks now. We expect this to go a number of weeks if not months more. Our staff who are working on this need a break. By declaring a state of emergency, we're able to tap into resources from other states, public health resources, and bring them in. Right now, we have five folks from North Dakota who are relieving some of our staff. And we expect to ask for more along the way.

WHITFIELD: So do you all know the source of this outbreak? How did all this get started?

WIESMAN: You know, like most cases of measles, if you don't have it in your community, it's related to travel. Either somebody from your community who's unvaccinated and goes somewhere where there's an outbreak and brings it back or someone who travels into your area, who has an outbreak. That's really how we think this started. It's grown very quickly, as you said.

WHITFIELD: And so are there any families that are, particularly, you know, adamant against getting further treatment, or even, you know, vaccinations after having not had some of their children vaccinated, because that's also part of the root of the problem, unvaccinated people who have been exposed, and so, you know, they contract it?

[13:40:17] WIESMAN: Right. You're absolutely right. The best way to protect our kids is to get vaccinated. We have a safe, effective vaccine. If you get your two doses, it's 97 percent effective in preventing this. That's what we want folks to do. We know sometimes parents are concerned about vaccines. If they are, we want them to talk to their health care provider. Go in with your questions and get those answered and have that conversation.

WHITFIELD: Secretary Wiesman, thank you so much.

WIESMAN: Thank you. And really appreciate everybody out there who's working so hard to control this.

WHITFIELD: Absolutely. And all the best there in Washington State.

Of course, other states heavily being affected by this measles outbreak. OK, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BRAK)

[13:45:28] WHITFIELD: Just one day into the Super Bowl kickoff. And one of the biggest controversies surrounds a quarterback not playing in the big game. In fact, Colin Kaepernick hasn't even taken a snap in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season. Attorneys for Kaepernick are now suing the NFL. They claim the former Q.B. is being blackballed by the NFL teams after he led a movement to kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence and misconduct. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, denies the NFL is colluding to keep him out of the league. Goodell says Kaepernick is not in the NFL because no team thought he could help them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: I think if a team decides that Colin Kaepernick or any other player can help their team win, that's what they'll do. They want to win and they make those decisions individually in the best interests of their club.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor, and Richard Herman, a criminal defense attorney and adjunct law professor, with me now.

Good to see you both.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY & LAW PROFESSOR: Good to see you, Fredricka.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY & ADJUNCT LAW PROFESSOR: Hey, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Richard, you first.

Do you buy Goodell's argument that if NFL teams thought Kaepernick could, you know, play, help them win, then he would be in the NFL right now?

HERMAN: No, Fred. When it comes time to the Super Bowl, that's the time when the commissioner has to do these press conferences and deal with some of the issues, including the biggest issue that the Saints got robbed, but other than that --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: We'll let that one go.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- and we're going to go forever on that. We're going to go forever on that.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: Listen there's a collusion -- that's an interesting word -- collusion lawsuit --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- by Kaepernick against the NFL claiming that, you know, basically all the teams, the 32 teams, there's only three black owners, all the teams have blackballed him. They won't even give him a workout, Fred. You said he hasn't stepped on the field since '16. These teams haven't given him a workout. He's 6'4", 220, in good shape. Look at the Redskins hire washed-up Mark Sanchez. They bypass Kaepernick? It's not going to fly, Fred. They did a public-opinion poll to determine the adverse impact on the NFL if Kaepernick is hired by the team. That's Exhibit A in the lawsuit. Goodell's statement is so disingenuous.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: He's going to go -- Kaepernick has a real chance to win. Are you telling me --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- in the United States of America we cannot protest police violence, inequality --

FRIEDMAN: Not a chance.

HERMAN: -- can't protest that? It's wrong.

WHITFIELD: Kaepernick's

HERMAN: Kaepernick's going to win.

FRIEDMAN: All right. All right.

WHITFIELD: -- attorneys also have to prove this notion of collusion, that there's a conspiracy --

HERMAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: -- to keep him out. So, Avery, does that mean transcripts of phone calls or texts or, you know, something in writing that says there was this concerted effort to keep him out as punishment? Does it have to be like that in order to win a case that you're making?

HERMAN: It's crystal clear.

FRIEDMAN: It doesn't -- it doesn't -- Fredricka, it doesn't have to be in writing. Mark Geragos went on the air and said it was a violation of First Amendment. First Amendment deals with restriction on government. We have to lose that claim. Secondly, if there's a race claim, as Richard seems to be saying, then there's a process. You file your charge to the United States Equal Opportunity --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: It's a protest. You're allowed to protest in this country.

FRIEDMAN: Here's the bottom line. You know what? The bottom line is that if it's racist, there's a remedy, he hasn't used it. Let me tell you something, I don't defend these cases, but, number one, if I'm an owner and there's a distraction because of this, I'm not bringing him in. Number two, I have a legal right to say, I don't believe in that particular spin. I think that --

WHITFIELD: All 32 teams --

FRIEDMAN: Taking a knee is wrong. Taking a knee is wrong.

WHITFIELD: All 32 teams take the same position?

FRIEDMAN: It's nothing to do with the First Amendment.

WHITFIELD: OK, so this was Geragos. Do we still have the sound? I'd love to hear. This is Kaepernick's attorney, Mike Geragos, and how he sees the way forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE GERAGOS, ATTORNEY FOR COLIN KAEPERNICK: I think the whole thing is basically a ruse. It was done, and the collusion actually was the NFL kowtowing to the president. I mean, it's clear. I think the evidence will show that when we do the hearing.

They don't admit the collusion because of what the consequence is. If they admit the collusion, the collective bargaining agreement, which is extremely onerous, that evaporates. So they can't admit the collusion. But it's with a wink and a nod. There isn't anybody who's got a couple of neurons firing that wouldn't say this is collusion activity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Richard, does that tell you anything more about how either difficult, how much of an uphill battle this is going to be for Geragos' team or how much of a potential slam dunk it is?

[13:50:09] HERMAN: Look, Fred, any time someone says a slam dunk, raise your eyebrows because there aren't a lot of slam dunks out there. But listen --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- all you need to do is look at the conduct of the NFL and the way they've treated Kaepernick. If you're telling me the mere gesture of a black player taking his knee during a national anthem to protest, to protest police violence and racial inequality, that's the purpose of it. Whatever people are drumming up in their mind about the military and disrespect and all, that's not what it's about. That's what it's about. That's what he's protesting.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: What's the claim? What's the claim?

WHITFIELD: His ability --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: The claim is he's been blackballed and no one will hire him. That's the claim.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: And they haven't.

FRIEDMAN: Let's be clear. You have to show that, of the 32, at least two are getting together and saying, you know what, I really believe that Donald Trump's objection to taking the knee should bar us. There's no evidence. He's a distraction and --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: He's 6'4", 220, and hasn't had one workout.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Won't Geragos' team -- won't Geragos' team say, when the president involved himself, it took it to another level, and that that, in some way --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: -- did pressure NFL team owners or at least influenced them against giving Kaepernick a shot?

FRIEDMAN: That's the theory, Fredericka.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: That's the theory. That's the theory. Now if Geragos can prove that, fine. But right now, he's spinning it in the court of public opinion. When he gets to a court of law, you know what, I'm sympathetic to the issue, but there's no legal basis to the claim. Unfortunately there's no basis.

HERMAN: That's just not true.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: If the NFL owners have gotten together and determined that based on Kaepernick's conduct --

FRIEDMAN: But you're assuming that. You have nothing to show that.

HERMAN: -- they're not going to hire him, they haven't even given him one workout. Come on, man. This is basic.

FRIEDMAN: You're trying to connect the two.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: That's evidence that's required and you don't have it.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: That's how you build a case, you get evidence and you get to a result.

WHITFIELD: So if he were to win --

HERMAN: That's good evidence.

WHITFIELD: -- hypothetical because there has to be -- you know, whatever the goal is, right, there has to be a vision. If he were to win, will --

HERMAN: Right.

WHITFIELD: -- part of the reward or settlement be the NFL paying for all of his lost wages all this time?

FRIEDMAN: Yes.

if he wins, that's right. That's right.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: And it could be punitive damages.

(CROSSTAKL)

FRIEDMAN: If Richard's right, and there's evidence --

WHITFIELD: -- and back into the game on the team?

FRIEDMAN: It's not going to force an owner to put him on the field, Fredericka. That will never happen. There may be damages. But there's no way a federal judge is going to order Kaepernick back on the field. Never going to happen.

HERMAN: The fact that this lawsuit is pending, Fred, hurts Goodell. When he opens his mouth, hurts himself. When he says the teams hire the best players to play, and you can see the Redskins hire like Sanchez and

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- Kaepernick is 6'4", 220, a mobile quarterback. He wasn't the greatest quarterback. But you know what? He could help a lot of teams in the NFL. Nobody's giving him a workout.

FRIEDMAN: We'll see. We'll see.

(CROSSTALK) HERMAN: This is a viable case. It really is.

WHITFIELD: Richard, Avery, thank you so much.

HERMAN: OK.

Always good to see you.

HERMAN: Always great to see you, Fred.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: And hear you.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:57:40] WHITFIELD: With the high stakes and divisive Brexit debate nearing another critical vote, the colorful speaker of Britain's House of Commons is giving an exclusive and rare interview with CNN. And he tells us why he believes it's important to give what he calls "the dissident minority" a chance to have their voices heard.

Here is CNN's Bianca Nobilo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN BERCOW, SPEAKER, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: Order! Order!

Stop it. It's low grade, it's useless, and it won't work.

(SHOUTING)

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Bercow, one of he most recognizable voices in British politics, in a role almost as old as parliament itself.

BERCOW: The best-known visible function of the speaker is to chair in the chamber, chair the prime minister's questions, to chair the debates. In that capacity, I'm the referee.

Don't tell me what the procedures of this House are.

If the speaker is the sort of person that will be cowed or intimidated by an administerial rant or a letter sent by way of complaint, that person isn't fit to be speaker.

NOBILO: Speaker since 2009, how has he learned to control hundreds of lawmakers?

BERCOW: You sometimes you do have to speak loudly. There's no point in saying, would you mind awfully, just possibly, after due reflection, thinking about stopping speaking? If somebody is going on too long, sometimes you just have to interrupt and say, "Order, order!" (SHOUTING)

BERCOW: Order! Order! Order!

NOBILO: A job fraught with the difficulties of the day.

BERCOW: We're grappling with the biggest difficulty facing us, Brexit. No resolution of the matter has been obtained. It is a concern. It isn't something that the speaker can determine.

NOBILO: All six centuries of speakers have faced their own challenges, including mortal danger.

(on camera): Do you feel that weight of history when you conduct your daily duties?

BERCOW: The truth is that it was a very perilous enterprise to stand for speaker before the Democratic age came upon us.

The historians here will note that some seven speakers lost their heads for championing the Commons against the executives.

(LAUGHTER)

That does enable me to view the woes and challenges which afflict and confront the House of Commons, and which, if truth be told, periodically, afflict and confront me. That is to say, whatever happens to me, I'm not likely to lose my head.

[14:00:06] NOBILO (voice-over): Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)