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CNN NEWSROOM

Doomed Ethiopian Plane's Black Box Found; Mick Mulvaney Defends President Trump Following New Zealand Mosque Attacks; Trump Reignites Attacks on the Late Senator John McCain; Death Toll Rises to 50 After Mass Shootings at Two New Zealand Mosques; Trump Tells FOX News to "Bring Back" Jeanine Pirro. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 17, 2019 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:36] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. And welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We're following breaking news on the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Ethiopia's Transport minister says the plane's flight data recorder shows similarities with the crash of the same model Boeing 737 MAX 8 back in October in Indonesia.

Let's get straight to CNN's Richard Quest.

Richard, what more are we learning?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN MONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, Fredricka, this was the first indication of connection, similarity, coincidence, whatever we want to say. They've started reading out the data from the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. It's being done by the BEA which is the French regulator. Extremely experienced. And according now to the Ethiopian Transport minister, she's held a press conference in Addis Ababa that there were certain similarities between Lion Air back in October, that particular crash of the 737 MAX, and the Ethiopian 302 flight, the 737 MAX.

What those similarities are she didn't say. But educated guesses suggest it shows similarities in altitude variation, the speed at which the plane managed to achieve. The altitude that the plane managed to achieve. If you look at Lion Air and Ethiopian, they are very similar. And now it would appear that the black box and data recorders seem to bear out that coincidence.

Now one other point. Within 30 days under international law, the Ethiopians have to produce a preliminary report. It won't be much detail. It'll just be a page or two long, but it will give the first indications of the avenues the investigation is taking and crucially, Fredricka, it may make the first or can make the first recommendations of what needs to be done.

WHITFIELD: So will it be Boeing or would it be the FAA who would be most held responsible for either having the data, knowing it, examining it, so as to figure out how to prevent something like this?

QUEST: The data from the voice recorders will be provided to both, of course, in the fullness of time. Now Boeing is already working on a fix for what they say is necessary for the so-called MCAS. This is the software that's believed to be at the heart of both these crashes. Boeing says it's got a fix. The FAA says it is looking at this but hasn't yet authorized them to test it. The testing could take weeks, if not months.

So I think both Boeing and the FAA, both have an interest in getting to the bottom of this, but we're a long way from the 737 MAX being back in the air.

WHITFIELD: And have you learned anything that's in concert with this "New York Times" reporting that the opportunity had not been given to pilots to better understand this kind of technology that these Boeing planes had?

QUEST: This is a -- simply a fact. Certainly before Lion Air, many pilots have been given minimal, basically iPad, training on the differences between the existing 737, 800, 900 -- sorry, NGs, and the new MAX 8 and MAX 9. Very minimal because Boeing believed that the way this technology worked, pilots already knew how to deal with those sort of crises if it went wrong. However, between Lion Air and Ethiopian, well, no pilot should have been flying a 737 MAX that hadn't been made fully aware.

But here's the rub, Fredricka. The critics will say even with the new information, that wasn't enough. There needed to be special simulator training for the MCAS. There needed to be new simulators with variants specifically for this sort of fault or this sort of mechanics. As far as we know, that never happened between the two crashes.

WHITFIELD: All right. Richard Quest, thank you so much.

All right. Now we turn to politics in the U.S. and the White House doing damage control after President Trump's response to the massacre in New Zealand.

[16:05:03] Fifty people murdered by a man promoting while nationalist ideas. Despite the deadly attack, President Trump still claiming the threat from white nationalism is not on the rise. Now his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, coming to the president's defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The president is absolutely briefed on all the threats, both domestic and international, but I'm going to push back against this idea that every time something bad happens everywhere around the world, folks who don't like Donald Trump seem to blame it on Donald Trump.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: To the degree that there's an issue with white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigotry in this country, and there is an issue with that, why not deliver a speech condemning it?

MULVANEY: You've seen the president stand up for religious liberties, individual liberties. The president is not a white supremacist. I'm not sure how many times we have to say that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So all of this happening while the president's focus, according to his Twitter feed, is somewhere else. He's taking aim at the late Senator John McCain just months after his death for his ties to the controversial Russian dossier, on Trump and McCain's notable thumbs down vote on repealing Obamacare.

CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez joining me right now. So let's start with Mick Mulvaney's comments today. It's remarkable the acting chief of staff is the one who has to explicitly say the president is not a white supremacist.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is, Fred. Mulvaney clearly annoyed by a question, one that is frequently posed to the White House and defenders of the president, the criticism toward President Trump for his response to this attack in New Zealand is twofold. First many felt that he was wrong when he said he did not believe that white supremacy was on the rise around the world, especially because there's evidence to the contrary.

And secondly because he didn't explicitly condemn Islamophobia. The president didn't even say that word. Some, like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, believe the president is not using his platform adequately to promote tolerance. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: There's real data and information currently, right now, of the rise of white supremacy right here in this United States of America. He needs to look at the data and the information and the facts and actually listen and understand the tremendous responsibility he has in being our president, our leader of our country. He cannot just say it's a small group of people.

There's too many deaths, not only from the synagogue to the black churches to the temples, to now the mosques. We need to be speaking up against this. And it has to start with him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAKARIA: Now the White House has pushed back on this sort of criticism previously, saying that the president's admonition of what happened in New Zealand was adequate. However, for perspective, I wanted to point out the president sent out two tweets about the attacks on Friday. He hasn't tweeted about it since. In contrast, the president tweeted three times today defending a FOX News host whose rhetoric last week was deemed anti-Muslim, anti-Islam. And the president was essentially saying that she should stand up for herself and she should stay on the air -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And the president also spent some time going after the late U.S. Senator John McCain on Twitter today.

SANCHEZ: Yes, right. This all goes back to the Steele dossier. John McCain was one of the very first Americans to actually see it, the salacious piece of compiled information during the 2016 election. Some of it, which has been verified, some of it unverified. Still, the president ties that dossier to the start of the Russia investigation.

John McCain denied that he provided that dossier to journalists, but recently we learned that one of his aides actually handed it over to BuzzFeed News. And some are criticizing the late senator, saying that this stains his legacy, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr who investigated former President Bill Clinton in the late '90s. Listen to what he told FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said that he didn't have anything to do with passing on the dossier to the FBI. And yet now we know he did.

KEN STARR, FORMER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL WHO INVESTIGATED PRESIDENT CLINTON: Deeply disappointing. Well, we'll see. That's what the evidence shows. You know, I'm one who keeps saying don't rush to judgment, but that's what the evidence tends to show. And I'm just saying, I'm very, very saddened by this, but John McCain was an American hero who did so much for the country. But this is unfortunately a very dark stain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: So President Trump obviously saw that interview because he quoted it in a tweet and went one step further in explaining his grudge toward the late senator. Look at this tweet that President Trump sent out. He writes, quote, "Spreading the fake and totally discredited dossier is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain. Ken Starr, former independent counsel. He had far worse stains than this, including thumbs down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace," the president talking about that vote in 2017 where John McCain voted against a thin repeal and replace bill or rather just a repeal bill of Obamacare.

[16:10:06] Megan McCain, John McCain's daughter, tweeted back at President Trump, launching this attack. Listen to this. Quote, "No one will ever love you the way they loved my father. I wish I had been given more Saturdays with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on Twitter obsessing over mine."

Clearly the president's obsession over John McCain and the grudge between the two men continues on even seven months after the late senator's death -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk further on this. Joining me now, "New York" magazine's Washington correspondent, Olivia Nuzzi, and historian and professor at Princeton University, and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer.

Good to see both of you. Julian is also the author of "Fault Lines: A History of the U.S. Since 1974."

All right, so, Julian, you know, what was your reaction that the acting chief of staff would, you know, say the president is not a white supremacist, not necessarily answering the question that was asked, but making that statement?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's obviously stunning that we need an answer to that question with the president of the United States. But it's either a chaos strategy, where you have the chief of staff and others trying to clean up what the president tries to do, or it's just a strategy, meaning the president is consciously avoiding saying much on this, sending other signals through his chief of staff but himself not sending those signals to his political base. We don't know which it is. But either way, it's not great for the White House.

WHITFIELD: Olivia, does it become an inadequate, you know, replacement of thought?

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Does it become a replacement of --

WHITFIELD: Does it become adequate that it's Mick Mulvaney who's speaking on behalf of the president as opposed to the president elaborating further?

NUZZI: No. No. Certainly not. And I think that the FOX News host there was right to ask why the president won't just come out and give a speech about this, but I think unfortunately the obvious answer to that is that he can't. He can't without disavowing what he himself has said previously. Since the campaign, he has said abhorrent things about Muslims. He has used language that I think has contributed to rising tensions into this rise of hate worldwide.

And he can't give a speech condemning white supremacism and condemning this ideology that led to these 50 deaths, including of a 3-year-old. If he does not take some personal responsibility for the things that he has said. So I think for the time being, the only thing that he can do is send out his surrogates, as he's doing now, while he stays at home and sends tweets about other topics, I think hoping to deflect the conversation elsewhere.

WHITFIELD: So Mick Mulvaney -- I mean, as this acting chief of staff, you know, he is fiercely defending the president no matter what, at least right now, but it hasn't always, you know, been the case. Here's what Congressman Mulvaney said about Donald Trump back in 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MULVANEY: Yes, I'm supporting Donald Trump. I'm doing so as enthusiastically as I can, even though I think he's a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So Olivia, is it -- you know, Mulvaney has evolved, now he's in a different position, observes the president differently? I mean, what's the explanation here?

NUZZI: I doubt that he has evolved and views the president differently, but I think that he got a different opportunity and is feeling the role that he now has. And he's certainly not the only one who has served in this White House who had previously condemned the president. I mean, Kellyanne Conway as a surrogate for the Ted Cruz campaign was very negative about the president back during the Republican primary.

Raj Shah, former spokesperson for this White House, worked against President Trump in favor of Jeb Bush during the campaign. So it's not unusual, at least for this president, to have people surrounding him who previously were pretty vocal talking out against him.

WHITFIELD: And then, Julian, one would think that this was kind of, you know, water under the bridge that wasn't going to, you know, resurface. But here we go again with the president insulting now the late U.S. Senator John McCain in a different manner now. You know, via tweet today. Why does he do this? And, you know, why would the president feel that this is advantageous for him?

ZELIZER: Well, there's the personal grudge element. And it's not about advantageous or strategy. It's about him really holding a grudge against Senator McCain for all his opposition. But it's kind of morphing into his conspiracy theories about politics and Washington and the investigations against him. And now Senator McCain becomes part of that broader story. He's trying to tell his supporters that a lot of Washington is out to get him, and here he's connecting McCain to the dossier, to the investigation. And so there is a logic to it, if you want to look at it politically. And I think you might hear more of it, as distasteful as it is.

WHITFIELD: So, Olivia, this then would, bottom line, be about re- election.

[16:15:01] I mean, this would be President Trump speaking to his base, who are on board with, you know, this psychology.

NUZZI: Yes, I think that looking ahead, he probably is thinking that way, but I think with Trump, it's also -- he knows that the media is going to react very strongly. There are going to be a lot of panels like this one discussing what's wrong with saying something like that about somebody who cannot defend themselves, even though I think Megan McCain, John McCain's daughter, did a fantastic job of being graceful and responding to that comment.

But I think that he likes to be an agitator, and this is a form of him doing that. And I think there was a good point made just now about him really holding grudges and maybe that explains this a bit. But I think he really does just like to create chaos and create outrage cycles. And again, he's deflecting from the fact that he's not responding adequately to what happened in New Zealand. WHITFIELD: Yes, it's -- yes, changing the subject or at least an

attempt.

Olivia Nuzzi, Julian Zelizer, thank you so much.

NUZZI: Thanks.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, officials have started releasing the identities of those killed in the New Zealand mosque attack. Some of them children. This as mourners gather at a makeshift memorial to honor those whose lives were lost.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:20:26] WHITFIELD: The death toll in the New Zealand mosque massacre has now climbed to 50. The number of injured also stands at 50. Authorities are now racing to identify all of the victims so that their families can bury them quickly in accordance with Muslim tradition. And across New Zealand, people are creating memorials and tributes to the victims, including this powerful ceremonial dance.

CNN international anchor Kristie Lu Stout is in Christchurch for us.

So, Kristie, talk to me about the people who have also assembled for that memorial behind you.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, Fredricka, it's past 9:00 a.m. in the morning, on a Monday morning here in Christchurch. Many residents returning to work, returning to school, but many of them are coming here to stop and admire, to reflect upon -- you're seeing a couple over there, they were in tears -- and also contributing to this growing floral tribute for the victims of the terrorist attack that took price here on Friday.

You see flowers. You see handwritten cards, works of art, paper chain, perhaps most poignant are the messages you see from small children written in crayon, messages of love, compassion. One message in marker just had the words "remember goodness" on them. And these words are necessary at a time when this community is still in mourning.

Now 50 people dead as a result of that terrorist attack, 50 wounded, of those 36 are in critical condition including a 4-year-old girl who is fighting for her life. In regards to the victims, we've learned that their remains will finally be returned to their families, so the families can say farewell and the families can prepare the bodies for burial in accordance to Muslim tradition.

So later today there is a critical cabinet meeting for the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. One day after the massacre on Friday, she pledged to change the gun laws and she is asking for a ban on semiautomatic weapons. Today we also expect to see a show of force from the police in New Zealand. The police commissioner, he announced over the weekend that there will be a significantly higher presence of security, not just around Christchurch, but around New Zealand on the streets, around businesses and schools, as well as in the skies.

But, Fredricka, just to bring it back to the scene behind us, what is so remarkable is the fact that the residents here have chosen to respond to an act of terror not with fear, not with hate, but an with outpouring of literally love and compassion. One banner over there saying we stand together with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and adding Christchurch. (INAUDIBLE) is a Maury saying for be strong. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kristie Lu Stout, thank you so much, in Christchurch, New Zealand.

And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:27:35] WHITFIELD: President Trump coming to the defense of one of his biggest supporters on FOX News today. Janine Pirro's show did not air on Saturday night after sources say she was suspended by FOX for her controversial comments on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Pirro was widely criticized for a segment on her show where she doubted Omar's patriotism because she wears a Muslim head covering called a hijab

FOX News publicly condemned Pirro's comments, and then today President Trump sent a three-part blistering tweetstorm demanding FOX News bring back Pirro, tweeting in part, "The losers all want what you have. Don't give it to them. Be strong and prosper. Be weak and die. Stay true."

Brian Stelter, CNN's chief media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOURCES" joining me right now.

So, Brian, you know, what more are you learning about this suspension?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a very unusual situation to FOX News. The network rarely takes action against any if its stars or commentators. But in this case with Pirro, the executives clearly believe she went too far this time last week. So as you mentioned, her program did not air this weekend. It is unclear if it's going to air next weekend or not.

FOX is not commenting. But a source familiar with the matter told me that she was, in private, suspended. That's why her show was not on this weekend. FOX is not confirming that publicly. My source says she's not been fired, but she has been suspended. And that's a rare step for FOX to take. You look at the president's Twitter feed about this, his comments about FOX, as you mentioned, a three-part statement about FOX.

He is openly telling FOX what to do.

WHITFIELD: Right.

STELTER: It's like he's giving free advice to the network that he likes so much. I think he's trying to get through to the Murdochs, the men who control FOX News, trying to say to them, be strong, don't give into the ad boycotts, don't give into the pressure from some progressives. You know, a lot of people have looked at the Omar situation, Pirro talking about Omar, just saying this isn't about politics. It's about basic American values. But in any case, the president making clear where he stands. Frankly, Fredricka, he seems more fired up about this than about the rise of white nationalism or the other issues that you've been covering all afternoon.

WHITFIELD: Right. You took the words right out of my mouth. So is this for show? Is the president saying this, you know, placing demands on FOX as a show or does, you know, feel that he actually might influence their decision?

STELTER: I think this is a demonstration of his vulnerability. You know, the president knows he's under investigation on multiple fronts, knows there are a number of scandals that continue to consume his presidency. I think he really recognizes the importance of these pro- Trump talk shows like Jeanine Pirro's, Tucker Carlson's.

[16:30:01] He recognizes the importance of these shows to keeping up his base, to keeping his base as solid as possible.

So I think he's actually legitimately concerned when someone like Pirro is not on the air, supporting him no matter what, demanding that, you know -- defending him no matter what. I think he's concerned about that. Some people look at his tweets and they say the president's fearless. He does -- he says whatever he wants. I look at it and I am thinking to myself, he's worried about something.

He's on a tweet storm, a rant this weekend, because he's worried about something that's coming, whether it's the Mueller report or something else. I think when he's concerned about someone like Jeanine Pirro, it shows his vulnerability.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah. He wants as mouthpieces as...

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, Joe Biden's oops moment, or was it an oops, so when he almost spilled the beans on his presidential plans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:35:02] WHITFIELD: New today, the Democratic field for president just got bigger. New York Senator, Kristen Gillibrand, jumps into the 2020 race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a leader who makes big, bold... UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Choices, someone who isn't afraid of progress. That's why I am running for president.

WHITFIELD: Gillibrand's announcement pushes the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls to an even dozen. And she may not be the last Democrat to throw her hat into the ring, as former Vice President Joe Biden almost announced he's running.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- if anybody who would run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Several of the Democratic candidates who have decided and announced officially, the presidential runs are out on the campaign trail today. Senator Elizabeth Warren is campaigning in the south today. The Massachusetts Democrat is in Memphis, where she will hold an organizing event in about an hour. And the campaign stop is part of a three-state tour of the south. She's taking over the next few days.

Tomorrow, she will hold a CNN town hall in Mississippi. And then she heads to Alabama. CNN Senior Political Analyst Mark Preston is in Jackson, Mississippi, where Warren's CNN town hall will be held tomorrow night. So Mark, why is Warren campaigning, spending this, you know, vital time in these southern states right now that are not part of the early states to hold caucuses and primaries?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there's something to be said about getting out of the log jam right now with the Democrats who are up in New Hampshire and Iowa, trying to vie for the attention of those voters. We know Elizabeth Warren has spent a considerable amount of time in New Hampshire and Iowa already. For her to come down here to the south, though, is very symbolic but also strategic in many ways.

Strategically, because when you get to next year and to 2020, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee are all going to play an important role in the first couple of states that actually vote for the Democratic nomination. Of course, this will come after we see the first four states vote, New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina, and Nevada.

But again, where we sit here in Mississippi, a very important state in the Democratic primary, but symbolically, too, though, Fred, because she's reaching out to a constituency that's very important to Democratic politics, and that, of course, is African-Americans. We're here on this very storied, historic campus of Jackson State University here in Jackson, Mississippi.

It's a historic -- historical black college and university. So she's clearly trying to send a message as she sweeps through the south, as you said. In Arkansas today, and moving her way down, all the way through -- or rather, Tennessee and down into Mississippi tomorrow, then of course over to Alabama and up to Birmingham on Tuesday. So -- symbolic, but she's certainly looking for votes, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And, Mark, then there's Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who officially jumped into the race today. That makes about a dozen Democrats now running for president. So how is, you know, Warren trying to distinguish herself from the pack and, you know, Gillibrand as well?

PRESTON: Well, you know, interesting. Let me answer it for Elizabeth Warren in a way that she was asked about whether or not she was a Democratic socialist, something that is embraced by Bernie Sanders or a socialist Democrat, however you want to say. When asked that question, Elizabeth Warren turned and said listen. He -- Bernie Sanders can explain what he means by that.

The centrist Democrats can explain whatever they're trying to do. And I am going to explain what I am trying to do. Now, of course, what she's trying to do is considered very liberal in many ways. But she does -- when she's looking at the markets, when she's looking at Wall Street, as much as she wants to rein them in and she wants to break up big tech, big banks and what have you, she does understand the power of the market, so she says.

So perhaps we'll hear her explain that a little bit more tomorrow. And of course, Kirsten soldier and -- Kirsten Gillibrand is somebody who is really vying for that middle to left lane right now, trying to reach out to Democratic activists that are certainly needed to get their support. And she's somebody who's really going to need that support in a state like Iowa and New Hampshire as well.

And perhaps she could play well in those states, but we'll see. You know, Kirsten Gillibrand has kind of been in. She makes it official. And now we'll see that she is fully dedicated to running for president, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mark Preston, thank you so much, in Jackson, Mississippi. And be sure to watch tomorrow when Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, takes to the stage there for the CNN town hall. Hear her messages. That's tomorrow night, 9:00 eastern, here on CNN.

[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The accused gunman in the New Zealand mosque attack bringing attention to a particular symbol of hate. The suspect appeared to flash a hand sign that traditionally means OK, but has increasingly been adopted by white supremacists and neo-Nazis. It's also been used by internet trolls in an attempt to spur reaction from liberals.

Joining me right now to discuss this is CNN National Correspondent Sara Sidner. Sara, good to see you, so tell us more about this symbol that he appeared to hold up. SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look. So this is one of

those things that has come into our culture, partly because of social media. But when, you know, we spend some time because this is (Inaudible) it's what we look into, it's what we research, looking on social media websites of the white supremacists or altright or neo- Nazis, and what you will find is this was that was initially -- it's an international symbol for OK.

I am good. Like, I affirm what you're saying. Everything is good. What they have done with it, though, is try and use it for another purpose, one, to troll people. And by trolling, I mean that if somebody does it and they're doing it because they're trying to show white power -- and I will give you an example of what that means.

[16:45:07] This is a W, right? You put your fingers like this and this could be a P, right? What they're trying to say is, yes, actually, we are affirming white power. But they'll always say, if you say, well, are you holding up a symbol, a white power symbol, are you a white supremacist? They'll say, oh, no, everyone does it. You're so stupid. You're someone from the left that's trying to make us look bad.

You're someone from the left trying to make white folks look bad. And so they use it against the people who try and point out that this seems odd. If you look at what the Southern Poverty Law Center has said about it, it's that, yes, it was initially used to sort of troll people from the white nationalists, but it is also a secret hand sign that is used amongst each other to affirm that they are white supremacists or white nationalists or members of the altright.

And I want to give you some examples of that. So you see this terrorist, this suspect in the killings in the mosque in New Zealand. You see him holding it up. And that's him right there. Now, you see his right hand is making that symbol. And he was well familiar with social media and some of the tropes and some of the hand signals that were being used.

If you read his manifesto, he talks about some of the folks in the white nationalist movement and his support of white supremacy. Now, I want to show you a couple of other pictures. We have Richard Spencer, who is a known member of the alternative right or altright, who has lots of white nationalist and white power views. There he is standing in front of Trump International Hotel. And he's making that sign.

Again, his response if someone came at him and said that's a white nationalist sign. He'd say, don't be ridiculous. I am just saying OK. You know I like Donald Trump. So it's interesting to note. And that was a year ago or so. And then here's someone else, Milo Yiannopoulos. Most people know sort of his views. He is continuously making jokes, making, you know, racist and misogynistic sometimes jokes and "anti-semitic jokes."

And there he is with the Make America Great Again hat and doing that sign. So again, it's got almost a double meaning. One, it's kind of a secret thing between, you know, people in the white nationalist movement. But it's also a way to try and make people who stand up against that look silly for saying, what, you're making the OK sign into something to do with white power?

But it certainly is there and it's certainly being used by white supremacists, white nationalists, altright, whatever name you want to give them, people who are xenophobic, people who are, you know, anti- Muslim, anti-black, anti, anti, anti, anti-Jewish. You see it over and over and over again. That's something that is true and real, but it's also used against people who point it out.

WHITFIELD: Yeah. Pretty terrible, too, because it's a sign that so many people universally use. And now, this is helping to promote a whole lot more confusion.

SIDNER: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Sara Sidner, thank you so much.

SIDNER: Sure.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, a sneak peek at the CNN original series, Tricky Dick, and why you'll get an inside view of Richard Nixon's presidency like never before.

[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: This week's CNN Hero struggled with depression after losing her dad when she was just 14. Since then, she has dedicated herself to helping children overcome their grief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My name is Bella and my dad died.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kids in grief are kids at risk. Time does not heal all wounds. Time helps, but it's what you do with that time, and what you need to do is mourn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you hear other people's stories, it kind of brings comfort.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that's why a place like Imagine exists, to give children a place to mourn their loss and find out that they're not alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Gosh, to meet some of the families Mary Robinson is helping, and to nominate perhaps someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to CNNheroes.com. All right, virtually, no politician in American history experienced the same kind of rise, fall, incredible comeback, and ultimate destruction as Richard Nixon.

Now, an all-new, four-part CNN original series, Tricky Dick, explores the life and career of the 37th president and offers insights into the parallels between the Nixon presidency and events taking place during the Trump administration today. Here now is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't give a god damn what the story is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard M. Nixon has lied repeatedly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No reporter from the Washington Post should ever be in the White House again. Do you understand?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tougher it gets, the cooler I get. I have what it takes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Impeach Nixon now. Impeach Nixon now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to say this to the television because people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This crap about Watergate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let others wallow in Watergate. We're going to do our job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to kick their ass. Nobody is going to package me. Nobody is going to make me put on an act for television. I am not going to engage in any gimmicks or any stunts, wear any silly hats. If people looking at me say that's a new Nixon, then all that I can say is, well, maybe you didn't know the old Nixon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:54:57] WHITFIELD: All right. Joining us right now is CNN Presidential Historian, Tim Naftali. He's also the former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library and was a consultant on the series Tricky Dick. Good to see you again. OK, so this series, I mean, we're all looking so much forward to this. We've heard it from so many viewers.

You know it really lets us hear Richard Nixon in his own voice from media interviews to candid moments caught on camera to this secret recording. So how impactful is it to hear him, to hear his thoughts?

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, Fred, this is a show, a four-part show that covers his life and career with no narrator, no talking heads, no interpreters or guides. It's primarily Nixon talking to all of you. It's both the public Nixon and the private Nixon. And so what I think will happen is many people will actually be learning more about Richard Nixon and getting an understanding of why he dominated our political imagination for nearly half a century.

WHITFIELD: Hmm. Because I think when people hear the word Nixon, their minds automatically go to Watergate. But you're here to, you know, share with us there is so much more to his political career.

NAFTALI: Well, it's a four-part series. And it's not a four-part series about Watergate.

WHITFIELD: Right.

NAFTALI: We -- the team used oral histories that were made for the first Nixon foundation in the 1970s by people who went to school with Richard Nixon, who remember him as a boy. So this is about his growing up in (Inaudible) California and his time in (Inaudible). And it's also about his early political career. It's as complete a package, a Nixon package, as possible given the vintage video, the films, and the tapes that we have available.

You will hear Richard Nixon a lot. And I am sure that much of what you hear, you've never heard before.

WHITFIELD: Hmm. What are the parallels that you see of Nixon and the Trump administration?

NAFTALI: Well, there -- let's make it clear that in this film, there is no narrator telling you this is a parallel. I think that viewers will see parallels in Nixon's dislike for the press, in Nixon's private thoughts about his opponents, his anger, his bitterness, and yes, his hate.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: And even some word choice.

NAFTALI: His word choice. But also, you will see the tensions in America at the time, the divisions that we unfortunately have today. They weren't the same in the 70s, but it was a very passionate, very divisive time. And unfortunately, I think people will see parallels to today in that.

WHITFIELD: Hmm. Well, will they also see some real marked differences?

NAFTALI: Well, a couple of things. First of all, the Trump story, we don't know the Trump story as well.

WHITFIELD: It's ongoing.

NAFTALI: We -- it's not only ongoing, but Richard Nixon hid much of his private self and the tapes revealed it. I don't know, and I don't think anyone but Mister -- President Trump and his family would know the difference between the public, social media Trump, and the real Trump. We now know the difference between the public President Nixon and the private Nixon. And the viewers will see that dramatically displayed in this four-part series.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So we're certainly hearing, you know, what all of us as viewers could learn from this series. But what do you suppose President Trump would actually learn from this series?

NAFTALI: Well, I -- what I hope he doesn't learn is how to conceal your private self better. What he might learn is that what happened to Nixon was that overtime -- the fact that the public caught on to the lack of credibility and to his lies hurt him politically, that though until the end of his days, have a strong group of supporters. They weren't enough to keep him in power.

And that's why he resigned. So one lesson perhaps the president might draw from this, if he took the time to watch it, is that overtime, lies corrode political bases.

WHITFIELD: Tim Naftali, thank you so much. Always good to see you, appreciate it. And be sure to watch Tricky Dick premiering tonight, 9:00 eastern only on CNN. Thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I am Fredricka Whitfield. The news continues now with Ana Cabrera.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN Newsroom. I am Ana Cabrera in New York. And this is a weekend when an entire nation, an ally of the United States, is struggling under the agony of the worst act of gun violence in its history.