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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Is Interviewed About The Relevance Of Getting The Unredacted Mueller Report Out To The American People; Democrats Are Careful Of Falling From The Trump Impeachment Bait; President Trump Not As Rich As He Portrays Himself To Be; President Trump's Taxes; Colorado School Shooting; Rep. Patrick Neville (R-CO) Is Interviewed About School Shooting; Prosecutor Not Planning To Reopen Sandra Bland Case. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 8, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Top House Democrats saying tonight this nation is in the middle of a constitutional crisis. And the House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says it's because President Trump is disobeying the law by refusing to turn over the information that Congress is requesting. Information it has a constitutional right to ask for in its oversight role.
So, is the president of the United States trying to goad Democrats into impeaching him? House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Every day he's obstructing justice by saying this one shouldn't testify, that one shouldn't, and the rest. So, he's making a case but he's just trying to goad us into impeachment. He knows that it would be very divisive in the country but he doesn't really care. He just wants to solidify his base.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Also, late this afternoon, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress because he ignored a subpoena to turn over the unredacted Mueller report and all the evidence Mueller collected.
That vote came after President Trump asserted executive privilege over the entire report and the underlying evidence, a move he made at Barr's request. Well, just the latest example of the Trump administration stonewalling Congress at every turn.
Well, tonight, we're going to take a look at a big picture what's happening and what it means for the country in the days and months to come, a lot to answer, a lot to get to.
Let's bring in now Frank Bruni, Ryan Lizza, and J.W. Verret, he is a Trump -- a former Trump transition official who is now calling for impeachment.
Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you so much.
Frank, Mueller report, all the Trump administration's actions surrounding it. Forcing Democrat's hand on impeachment?
FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, it's not forcing them because they still have discretion here. But I think every single day we're getting closer to it and we're getting very, very close to it.
I think everything Nancy Pelosi said just there was dead on true. I find myself wondering these days why she isn't running for president because she's been so on the mark.
But it almost does seem to use the words Nancy use like the Trump administration the president is trying to goad them into impeaching him. And he doesn't care about how divisive that would be. And if that were a political point in his favor, no matter what damage done to the country, he would be fine to that.
But that's the problem Democrats have. A lot of them are saying on principle we must impeach this president because he is a disgrace to the office, because he doesn't have American interests first, all the reasons.
But if the principle here is that Donald Trump need not -- must not get a second term. If the principle is that he is damaging the country and impeachment might help him stay in office another term, then is there any higher principle than resisting impeachment no matter how tempting it is?
LEMON: Not want to be in the Democrats --
BRUNI: I wouldn't want to be Nancy Pelosi but I'm glad she's there.
LEMON: -- Pelosi position. Listen, I hate to pat myself on the back but I will. I've said since, you know, pretty early a couple of weeks ago. It appears that this is -- I don't know if you were on the show.
The ball is rolling, Ryan, towards impeachment that the Democrats would have no other choice than do this. Either they ignore the rule of law or because then they too may look like they're allowing the president to just run rough shot over them and over the Constitution.
So, listen, I spoke with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler tonight who says that we are in this constitutional crisis. But impeachment, impeachment not the answer right now. Listen to this and I'll let you respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D), NEW YORK: We will first seek to enforce our subpoenas in court to get the information necessary to the American people. And by the way, one of the things that it's really a predicate for impeachment is that you have to have the support of the American people. And to do that, the American people have to have the facts to make a judgment and they're hiding the facts. So, our first job is to get out the facts. The American people should know what's going on, what they've done, what crimes, if any, have been committed, and what the story is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, Ryan, here's the question and you weigh in whatever you want. How can he -- you know, how can Democrats like Nadler say that this is a constitutional crisis but they'll not use a tool that they have to stop a constitutional crisis?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think Nadler's plan here from the beginning has been to have a full airing of Mueller's -- the results of Mueller's investigation before the judiciary committee. Bring in witnesses who with, you know, faces and video, and frankly, dramatize the findings of the Mueller report which were the way that the Mueller report was presented to the American people was extremely confusing because of the way that Barr spun it and for -- you know, had -- he had access to all the information and spun it in a highly preferential way to the president. Right?
[23:05:05] And then there was the second way when once the actual report came out. I think Nadler's job in what he's trying to do is present it in a way that can move public opinion because he's looking at the same poll as everyone else and public opinion is not -- has not really moved since the Mueller report came out. There's not bipartisan support for impeachment.
So, I think his case has been if you make a public argument, maybe that will change. Right? So, don't call for impeachment right away, but go out, make the argument and hold the hearings.
Now of course, he's been thwarted because the administration is throwing all this sand in the gears of his committee and you know, that's his frustration. But I don't think he's thwarted to the point where the judiciary committee can't do its job and lay out the full breadth of the case against Trump that's been presented in the Mueller report.
So, look, I don't -- I'm not as -- I don't totally agree with you, Don, that we're on the road to impeachment. But I think Nancy Pelosi's comments tonight were very significant.
LIZZA: She's been very bearish on impeachment. She's very deliberate when she speaks and you know, there's a reason she said that tonight.
LEMON: Yes. I just think the momentum is heading that way, whether it happens or not --
LEMON: -- I don't know, but I just feel like -- I just thought it's headed that way.
Listen, I don't know if you saw, J.W., Bruce Ackerman on earlier. He is a constitutional law professor; a constitutional law scholar and he says that -- he said that this is a moment of truth for the Supreme Court.
That the folks who are on the Supreme Court now, pretty much all of them are originalists. And he thinks that this is going to -- it will play out in the courts but if their reasoning is to buy time, he doesn't think it will take that long, he thinks it's going to go fast. Weigh in on that.
J.W. VERRET, FORMER TRUMP TRANSITION STAFFER: Yes. I think a lot of people are talking about the fast and furious confrontation between the Congress and the Obama Department of Justice as the most recent analog to this type of standoff. But I don't think it is.
That one took two or three years. Some of that is still ongoing. I don't think this is anything like that. I think the Supreme Court, D.C. circuit are more likely to hear expedited, very rapidly expedited hearings on these kinds of issues given the constitutional moment that we're in.
But don't forget, you know, I think this is a lot of, a lot like the Nixonian era. That took a long time. It was very slow, and frankly, very boring for most of the lead up to the dramatic events that we've seen in the Oliver Stone movies. It takes times.
But I absolutely agree with you, Don. The momentum is moving in that direction. Next item on the menu is do they impeach Barr?
VERRET: Because most impeachments have been of judges and inferior officers, and I think that's an arrow in the quiver of the speaker and Nadler that hasn't been discussed enough.
LEMON: Yes. Well, speaking of impeachment, Senator Elizabeth Warren had some very strong comments on impeachment yesterday. Let's look at them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: This is not about politics. This is about the Constitution of the United States of America. We took an oath not to try to protect Donald Trump. We took an oath to protect the -- and serve the Constitution of the United States of America. And the way we do that is we begin impeachment proceedings now against this president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So, Frank, same question but using Elizabeth Warren sound bite there. Most Democrats in Congress or the folks who are running against her, her fellow Democrats in 2020 think that this is a very polarizing and risky play. But are those people putting politics before their oath of office? You said which one is a higher, should be a higher priority you said.
BRUNI: Well, let's talk about this. If they all believe and I think they do, that Donald Trump is a danger to the country and a disgrace to the presidency, right, and the most important thing in the world is to make sure he's out of office as soon as possible. Impeachment is not going to lead to a conviction and ouster right away.
If impeachment might end up allowing Donald Trump to portray himself as a political martyr, if it might end up looking to the public like overzealousness on the part of Democrats, and if it redounded to his advantage it ended up giving him a second term, then what have Elizabeth Warren's ideals there served? Right?
Yes, there's a fidelity to the Constitution, there's a need to protect it. But there's also a need to do what's best for the country going forward. Impeachment is political.
If the country isn't there, if the people are not behind it, if they're divided or if more of them think they shouldn't it, then I don't think this sort of strict fidelity to the Constitution that she's talking about. I think that's living in a very eerie world and not the real one in which decisions should be made and then which Nancy Pelosi is making her calculations and decision.
LEMON: Just a quick from both of you. You can just give me a yes or no. J.W., do you think that Nancy Pelosi says that the president is trying to goad Democrats into impeaching him. Do you think he is?
[23:09:59] VERRET: It seems like he is but everybody -- nobody really knows what's going to happen in public opinion --
VERRET: -- if impeachment hearings start.
LEMON: Ryan, do you think he's trying to goad Democrats into it?
LIZZA: Not really. I rarely think that Trump has, you know, a master plan when he spouts off on this kind of thing. I think that's the effect though.
LEMON: Do you think that if they impeach him, again, quick answer, that it will help him politically, Ryan?
LIZZA: Boy, I -- you know, I don't think so. I don't think impeaching a president ever helps you politically. People point to '98 in Bill Clinton that, you know, he came out of that ahead in the midterms. But ask Bill Clinton if he thinks being impeached helped him politically. No.
LEMON: All right.
LIZZA: It will not help him.
LEMON: J.W.? VERRET: Bill Clinton was a lot better at comebacks in reshaping public opinion than this president. He's been low for a long time so I don't think it helps him politically.
LEMON: I appreciate all of you. Thank you so much.
LIZZA: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee says that President Trump is taking a wrecking ball to the Constitution. We're going to ask her whether she thinks impeachment is the answer, next.
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The House Judiciary Committee voting today to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to turn over the unredacted Mueller report and its underlying evidence. The vote coming after President Trump asserted executive privilege over the Mueller report at Barr's request.
Here to discuss Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. By the way, she sits on the judiciary committee. Congresswoman, thank you very much. Busy time, we know. So, we appreciate you coming in.
You voted today to hold the attorney general in contempt. It's a very serious move. What -- now what? What happens next?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, you're right, Don. It is a very serious move. And the country is in a very serious state of disarray and the rule of law is in jeopardy. And as I indicated earlier today my fear is that the president is attempting to take a wrecking ball to the Constitution.
For that reason, not for any targeting reason or dislike for anyone in the president's administration or the president. We thought it was imperative that we had to follow up on a contempt citation, a civil contempt citation which will now go to the House of Representatives and ultimately voted on by the House, approved by the House and then litigated in the federal courts by the House counsel and other counsel.
This move is imperative because the president in the early morning hours issued a directive that caused the Department of Justice to break down the negotiations we were in and then a letter issue by the attorney general to the president to encourage him to issue a blanket executive privilege.
That means for every single request that the Congress would ask for this president now, for the first time in the history of the United States, would choose to block every request that we would make. That is not acceptable.
LEMON: I want to -- I'll talk to you a little bit more about the blanket executive privilege. But I have to ask you. This is what the Department of Justice is saying, Congresswoman that by holding this vote, that you have terminated negotiations for the unredacted Mueller report. Have you undermined your own effort to get that information?
LEE: No. You know, that letter was probably written for public narrative again that is incorrectly directed. We have been negotiating, Don, for weeks. We start negotiating even before the Mueller report came out. And then over the last couple of days we have been responding to the Justice Department with counter offers. Something that Constitution required called an accommodation.
The negotiations actually broke down last night and this letter was sent just for the public expression that the Justice Department was innocent in all of this. They stopped the negotiation.
We were willing to continue and our requests were simple. Let the report be seen by the judiciary committee and the intelligence committee. Let's go into court to discern what are the grand jury materials we could see and then let's prioritize the documents that we want to look at.
Simple opportunity for Congress to do its job. The Justice Department rejected that in the midst, as I said, of our negotiations and they orchestrated these two letters this morning. The May 8th letter that indicated that we had terminated or that our actions would terminate the negotiations.
They terminated the negotiations. All we tried to do was to get Attorney General Barr to fill his responsibility and provide us with documents as of May 1st.
LEMON: Let's -- speaking a little bit now that I can -- you're outraged. I could tell. But you say that the president is trying to take a wrecking ball to the constitution. Chairman Nadler says that we're in a constitutional crisis. But he also says impeachment may not be the answer. Why not?
LEE: Well, I think what the answer is for us to get the truth and for it to be presented to the American people. I'd like the have director Mueller come to this committee and have his hearings and testimony be presented in prime time for the American people to hear his answers.
We have no narrative that we want to give other than the truth. And the question of impeachment is one where you have all of your facts, you have all of your witnesses. Impeachment is never too late. We're not running away from it and we're not rushing toward it.
So, the question is getting the witnesses, hearing the testimony, and presenting the truth to the American people.
LEMON: Well, we will be watching. And America is wondering what, now what? What news can break tomorrow or in the next five minutes. Congresswoman, thank you for your time.
[23:20:00] LEE: Democracy is strong.
LEMON: "The New York Times" bomb shell report into the president's taxes shows he lied, a lot, about his finances. I'm going to talk to two people who have a really interesting perspective on this. Kwame Jackson and Randal Pinkett from "The Apprentice" next.
LEMON: So, President Trump is dancing around the report in "The New York Times" that analyzed his tax documents from 1985 to 1994 which showed that his businesses lost more than $1 billion in that 10-year period. He says he was entitled to massive write offs, but also claims the Times report was inaccurate. But the numbers don't lie.
[23:25:04] Let's discuss now. Former "Apprentice" contestant Kwame Jackson and Randal Pinkett, who was, by the way, the winner of season four and he is also the author of "Black Faces in White Places: Ten Game Changing Strategy to Achieve Success and Find Greatness."
Good to have both of you on.
RANDAL PINKETT, WINNER, APPRENTICE SEASON 4: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you so much.
Let's get down to it. Kwame, welcome. First of all, first off, were you surprised to hear that President Trump is not exactly the huge self-made success portrayed -- that he portrayed himself to be?
KWAME JACKSON, FORMER APPRENTICE CONTESTANT: You know, Don, I didn't go for the con back then and I'm not going for the con now. I have a new slash for America that if you don't know that Trump is a con man by now, that's because you're the mark.
So, if you think about that, if you think about what we've been going through overall this time, back when I was on "The Apprentice," you know, coming out of Goldman Sachs I knew the masters of the universe who kind of considered Donald Trump a joke. And I knew that there was smoke there but we didn't really quite know where the fire was.
And so, right now, we're all figuring out now there's a real raging fire and it doesn't surprise me that the people who were saying my God, he has a gold-plated sink or he has a jet are now figuring out that, you know, all of that was a farce.
LEMON: He is, I've heard people say he's a poor person's idea of what a rich person is. So, I don't know if that's true but that's what they say.
Listen, Randal, I want to bring you in. The profile from last December quotes someone who worked on "The Apprentice." And here's the quote. "Most of us knew he was a fake. Braun told me. He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies but we made him out to be the most important person in the world."
Does this sound right -- about right to you? Do most people know Trump's wealth was inflated?
PINKETT: I think more and more is coming out as more investigations into his business dealings are coming out. The more I've learned even from what I didn't know back in "The Apprentice" days it looks more like a shifting Ponzi scheme. In the 80's he's this fake corporate rater who is saying he is going to take over companies buy shares before, sell shares after and never buy the company.
In the 90's, he borrowing money to buy into casinos, paying vendors pennies in the dollar. Those casinos are now gone. In 2000's, "The Apprentice" era, in 2004, Kwame Jackson, in 2005 Randal Pinkett. He's now putting money into real estate deals where people aren't getting their money, Trump ocean resort, Baja and Mexico, $32.5 million. Two hundred fifty never got their money.
And he's launching ventures that are now all gone. Trump stakes, Trump mortgage, go Trump, Trump institute, Trump University, Trump magazine. Where are all these companies? They're all gone.
LEMON: You've heard the defenders. He's a very rich man. So, he's going to have a lot -- he's trying to build his business. He's very rich. So, he's going to lose a lot of money. He admitted he lost billions, so what's new in all of this?
PINKETT: Right. So, I mean, the goal of the business is to make money. So, to take -- to take loss after loss after loss over a decade. Where is -- where is the success of business in that story? And to defend him that he's some genius. I get that the tax laws are geared toward people like Donald.
But at the end of the day the goal of getting 413 million from your dad was not to lose 1.17 billion over 10 years. The goal ultimately was to make money. We're all in business, we get this.
LEMON: Kwame, I want to bring you in. But let me play something before you respond.
LEMON: I'll give you as much time as you need. This is a clip from April 6, 1991 from a report on NBC Nightly News about how Donald Trump was the darling of the 80s and in the 90s, the bank were onto the lies, and then started closing in. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you borrow as much money as Donald Trump did, nearly $2 billion and the economy goes into a tail spin and you can't pay the interest on your loans, the bankers move in. And they have.
Here's what's in the works. Donald's 100 million-dollar yacht goes to the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company. His half interest in the Grand Hyatt Hotel goes to Bankers trust. His interest in Alexander's Department Store goes to City-Core. His Trump shuttle goes to Northwest Airlines.
What Donald Trump gets is a chance to start over. He probably won't have to declare bankruptcy.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: Interesting. So, he created, Kwame, the whole new persona from
his failure under the scrutiny of this presidency. Is his house of cards starting to fall again?
JACKSON: Yes. I mean, I agree with Randal, there's definitely a made off (Ph) feeling to what Donald Trump has done and now that we're being unmasked and the big reveal is happening all you have to think about is, if Donald Trump was untouchable by American banks from, you know, '85 to '85 in this supposed golden halo run-up and no one would lend him money. Where is the financing coming from for the growth that happened in the '90s and into 2000s? That had to come from foreign investors.
And that exactly why we need to see his tax returns because that leads him open to Russian influence, Chinese influence, Saudi influence. All the folks that we think that, you know, he may be under the thumb of right now.
[23:30:04] And so that's why such a dangerous ploy that people don't understand why the urgency is there to make sure that we don't have our president being co-opted.
LEMON: And so far, listen, nothing illegal has been at least confirmed here. People are wondering where some of the money came from and if there is a possibility of some illegality here.
But you worked for the Trump -- going off of what Kwame said. You worked for the Trump Company and close, right? So where was this money come from? This spectacular empire that, you know, he had so many losses. Do you know where this money was coming from?
RANDAL PINKETT, BUSINESS CONSULTANT, THE APPRENTICE SEASON FOUR WINNER: Again, I see this as (ph) scheme. He was consistently borrowing from banks and other investors to put his name and put his money into ventures that would eventually fail.
But if he has the privilege of being able to continue to borrow, to continue to go to the capital markets and to lose that money, that was because his father, Fred Trump, introduced him to all of his banking relationships or because somehow people never quite caught the scheme that Donald is not actually making the money that he's claiming to make.
And so the house of cards slowly is beginning to uncrumble, but I don't think the investor community has ever really looked at Donald at that close to say, why we are putting money behind this guy who is constantly losing money deal after deal after deal after deal?
LEMON: Interesting. If you don't realize you're being conned, you're the mark. Fascinating. Kwame, Randal, thank you. I appreciate your time.
New details on a hero student who died trying to stop a school shooter in Colorado. He is a second student in a week to sacrifice himself to save his peers, while the adults still haven't come up with a solution to protect our kids. [23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Well, I need to talk to you tonight about 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who was shot and killed yesterday when he rushed a shooter inside the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Kendrick and his classmates were in English class, watching a movie.
Then the shooter walked in, pulled out a gun, started to fire. Kendrick's classmates say he lunged at the shooter which gave them all enough time to hide and disarm the shooter. And now Kendrick is a hero instead of a high school graduate.
I just want you to listen to Kendrick's father, recounting the moments he realized he lost his son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF KENDRICK CASTILLO: I kind of knew when he wasn't answering, you know. It's like you expect your kid to pick up the phone and then tell you, you know, leave me alone. I was -- I was a little bit guilty because as I was always trying to call him, I thought maybe this is a wrong thing, maybe I'm putting his life in jeopardy by having the phone ring so is texting.
I tried to FaceTime him. I was getting nothing. My anxiety and my -- the lump in my chest is growing, you know. I just couldn't believe it. I can't believe this was happening to my son.
One of the kids told me that like a flash, he jumped up. She said, "You know, he's a hero. He saved me." She said he jumped up and he ran. She said you couldn't even see how fast he was running, you know, out the door and after this person to tackle --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Kendrick's parents. A hero. A dead child. And Kendrick is not the only one. Just last week, we talked about Riley Howell. He was a hero in another school shooting when a gunman opened fire at UNC Charlotte. Riley ran directly at the shooter. Then he was shot point blank and killed. Police say he took the shooter off his feet and by doing so saved countless lives. This is what his mother told Chris Cuomo tonight about this week's school shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL, MOTHER OF RILEY HOWELL: It's just terrible that more families and communities are going through this. And while I'm angry and I feel embattled, I think at the same time, we have to instead of just agonize (ph), we have to galvanize and we have to figure out how to come up with some constructive dialogue to keep this from happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: She's right. We need do something. Can we think about this? We are now asking our children to be heroic enough to lay their lives on the line when people with guns start shooting in their classrooms. We are asking them to be impossibly brave and strong, to have heart and courage and selflessness. What are we asking of ourselves? What are we doing for them? Nothing.
Just listen to Nate Holley, 12 years old, sixth grader at STEM School Highlands Ranch. This is what Nate told CNN's Brooke Baldwin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATE HOLLEY, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: When the shooter got closer, she moved us into the closet. I was hiding in the corner and they were right outside the door. I had my hand on the metal baseball bat just in case because I was going to go down fighting if I was going to go down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Did you hear that? Our kids in their classrooms are mentally and physically prepared to go down fighting. Our kindergartners, our pre-schoolers are having drills where they learn how to hide from shooters.
For the littlest kids, they sometimes tell them that they are practicing in case a bear or an animal gets into a school. But it's not the kids who can't handle the truth, the truth that it's a gunman they need hide from. It's the adults.
[23:39:58] Within a week, one week, we have seen two examples of the best that our kids have to offer. So why can't we give our best, too, because at this point, we're all just playing the odds.
Just hours after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I talked about those odds, and they're odds that haven't changed one bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): Every single one of us is just playing the odds at this point. The odds that in a country of 325 million souls that we won't be the ones who get hit by the next bullets that start flying, we won't be the one that gets that phone call about someone you love who you're your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister, your spouse or your parent, even a friend, anyone you know, the phone call that changes your life.
But with every deadly shooting in this country, the odds get worse and worse and worse. Are you really willing to keep playing those odds? Your life is too precious for that. The lives of our loved ones are too precious. The lives of the people in our cities and towns are too precious. Have we forgotten that life is a gift?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Today, I saw a tweet from Senator Chris Murphy, calling our kids members off the mass shooting generation. What a horrible concept. But can we really say that they aren't? We are letting them down. I'll say it again. We are letting them down every day. Kendrick and Riley are heroes. I honor them. I send my condolences to their families, their families and their communities. They are heroes. What does that make us?
[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The two suspects accused of carrying out a mass shooting at a Denver area charter school made their first appearance in court today. Joining me now is Colorado Representative Patrick Neville. STEM School Highlands Ranch is in his district. Representative, I'm so glad to have you on. Thank you so much. You're a Columbine survivor.
REP. PATRICK NEVILLE (R), COLORADO: I am.
LEMON: How did going through that school shooting impact you and how do you think it will impact those kids?
NEVILLE: Well, for me, it was definitely a tough day. To be honest my life was going down a very bad path prior to that shooting. When I lost some very, very close friends, it changed my life around. It's a big reason I'm doing what I'm doing now. I hope the kids kind of have that same thought with them. They can move pas this and turn something that's really, really negative into a positive.
LEMON: It does have lasting effects.
NEVILLE: It does.
LEMON: Yeah. As a school shooting survivor yourself, what kind of support was the most helpful to you? What can the community do?
NEVILLE: For me, I think the most important thing was just having good parents that actually kept a close eye on me, made me do the right things. You know, being a 15-year-old kid at the time, I really didn't want to go through the pain and suffering of going to the funerals and visiting the parents that lost their loved ones and my parents really made me do that. I'm glad I did that because that gave me a sense of closure.
LEMON: So, you know, Kendrick Castillo who lost his life saving the other kids, is there -- is there anything that you can say to his family or you would like to say to his family?
NEVILLE: I think what he did, hearing the reports, is just amazing. He's a total hero. I know that doesn't bring their son back and that's very sad. But it's pretty amazing. I think we learned a lot of lessons after Columbine. Just hearing the stories is just very, very amazing, what he did that day.
LEMON: What is your message not only to these parents but to all the parents who have lost their children to gun violence in schools? Because I know -- again, you're a survivor. What's your message?
NEVILLE: I think when you take a close look at this and make a priority and fix it, we have been putting forward several different solutions and I think we need to find a way to come together and actually solve this problem in a reasonable manner.
LEMON: Representative Neville, thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.
NEVILLE: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: A prosecutor saying tonight that previously unseen video taken from Sandra Bland's cell phone is not enough to reopen the criminal case stemming from her death in police custody. That was back in 2015, days after she was arrested for failing to use her turn signal.
Sandra Bland's death was ruled a homicide. Let's talk about this now. W. Kamau Bell is here. He is the host of CNN's "United Shades of America." Thank you for coming on. I wish you came under better circumstance.
I spoke to Sandra Bland's sister, Sharon, last night who is pushing for this case to be reopened. It took four years, Kamau, for this video to come to light. Do you have any questions? Does this raise questions to you about the investigation and how the case was handled?
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: You know, so many times with black people in this country that involves law enforcement, we don't get the benefit of the doubt. And I think every black person who saw this from the very beginning, seeing that the whole thing allegedly broke down over her attitude, knew that there were a lot of fishy things going on here.
[23:55:02] And we didn't need the cell phone video to know that what the cops were saying was not true. I hope for her family they can get the investigation reopened. But just to be clear, blacks in this (INAUDIBLE) country don't need the investigation reopened to know what happened there.
LEMON: Yeah. Cell phones, social media, really brought a lot of attention. We've discussed this. A lot of attention to incidents like this that we otherwise never may have seen, right? We would never see it. But this took four years to come out. How many other cases like this, do you think, there could be?
BELL: I mean, you know, this goes back to the dawn of this country. You know, the Emmett Till -- the woman who said that Emmett Till whistled at her just recently said a couple years ago that it didn't actually happened that way.
I mean, this is what this country is built on. We've had plenty of cell phone footage or like Facebook live of black people being killed on camera by cops for doing nothing like Philando Castile and those investigations don't lead anywhere. So I think, you know, we have Oscar Grant in Oakland that more information just came out about that, and that was 10 years ago. I think that there is no end of these cases. And right now, in this country, as we know, there's not a lot of political will for justice.
You've been spending the whole program tonight talking about all the ways in which this country is not standing up for kids in schools who could be shot in school shootings or there is not a lot of political will for impeachment, there is not a lot of political will for justice in this country. There's political will for getting re-elected.
LEMON: I just want -- this is what "United Shades of America" covers. I just want to get your thoughts on this. The FBI is revealing today that they are currently investigating nearly 850 people across the U.S. as possible domestic terrorists, plus a number of cases targeting white supremacists and white nationalists and other racially-motivated extremists. It has jumped in the past six months. What is behind that?
BELL: I feel like we have the same conversation all the time, Don. The president of the United States of America plays footsies with white nationalists, white supremacists regularly. He encourages them through his rhetoric. Hate crimes are up because of that. The call is coming from inside the White House. We know it's happening. It's coming from the White House.
We did an episode last week called "Not All White People." They have to stand up in their own communities against white supremacy because they don't feel like help is coming from -- they can't trust local authorities. They can't trust the president. They can't trust elected officials.
So there are people in this country like the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club who are patrolling their own neighborhoods and showing up to protect their own people because they see other stuff happening in their neighborhoods.
LEMON: I want you to hear this because the Homeland Security Committee chair agrees with you. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), MISSISSIPPI: From Charleston to Oak Creek to Charlottesville to Garden City, we've seen these violent ideologies rear their ugly heads over and over. Unfortunately, President Trump has tried to play both sides with domestic terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Why does the president continue to downplay the threat of white supremacists?
BELL: Because that's his base, Don.
BELL: We've had this conversation many times. That is the base of who will push him into office. I mean, we have this thing right now. It was like -- we -- because we use the Electoral College, there's a thumb on the scale of the will of American people when it comes to electing presidents. He doesn't have to play to all of us. He just has to play to his base.
And the thing is that I'm happy to see that we are now maybe connecting all of these acts of white violence and white supremacy as an overall movement because any time any Muslim does anything like this, we put them in ISIS and we put them in Al Qaeda. With white people, they get to be individuals. And so I am happy to see that maybe we will finally connect all these things together.
LEMON: On this week's episode of "United Shades of America," you travelled to Minnesota to talk to the Hmong community. Watch this.
BELL (on camera): Was there any experience of, you know, of racism or --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, back then when we came here, people were accusing us of eating their dogs and eating their cats. I've been pushed down the stairs, been called all kinds of names, been spit on, been told to go back home and all that. But I don't know whether that's racism or whether that's just lack of understanding about who we are.
BELL (on camera): I think, yeah, it's a lack of understanding. But there's different ways to have a lack of understanding. There is like, I don't know who you are. I should find out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
BELL (voice-over): Versus I don't know who you are, get him, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
LEMON: What do you expect people to learn from this?
BELL: You know, a lot of the season of "United Shades," I feel like we have to keep reminding America to expand the idea of what an American is. It isn't just somebody who looks like you or thinks like you. And so the Hmong people of St. Paul, Minnesota have a proud history with this country before they even showed up here when they fought for America in the secret war that was run by the CIA.
That's a history I didn't know. My favorite episodes of the show are episodes where I sit the whole time with my mouth open having my mind blown because I know there are people in the audience who feel the same way. We have to expand the idea of what an American is in this country.
LEMON: Well --
LEMON: Easier said than done. Do you disagree?
BELL: Easier said than done. Doesn't mean I'm going to stop doing the work.
LEMON: That's not what I mean. That's what I want you to talk about. That it's tough work that you have to continue to do and you have to continue to say it even when people yell against it and say, oh, what are you doing? Why is W. Kamau Bell bringing this up? He is a racist.
BELL: If I could do other things, I would, but this is the only work I know how to do, Don.
LEMON: Thank you.
BELL: I'm not as cute and funny as Kevin Hart so I've got to do this.
LEMON: He's going to love it right now. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. W. Kamau Bell on "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," Sunday night 10 p.m. right here on CNN. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.