Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Etiquette on U.K. Visit; New Update on Virginia Beach Shooting; Cruise Ship Rams Dock in Italy; Italy Evicts Bannon; Kim Jong-un Executes Top Negotiator; Lost Hiker Apologizes for Comments; Mixed Race G.I. Babies in Britain; Trump Raises Tariffs on Mexico; New Episode of "The Redemption Project"; Leah Chase, The Legendary Chef, Dies at 96; Topics to Avoid by Trump on His Visit to the Royal Family. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 2, 2019 - 17:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. You are live in the "CNN Newsroom" this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. In just hours from now, President Trump will board a flight for his latest overseas trip to Britain where he'll be fitted by the queen as part of an official state visit.

The natural expectation of course would be that the president would want to avoid any sensitive topics like Brexit or the downfall of Theresa May or who should replace her as prime minister or risk a comment that might insult his royal host.

So, what kind of preparations have been made for a smooth visit? CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House. So Sarah, Trump is heading to a country where he is already deeply unpopular. So, what is the president hoping for?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, everything you just mentioned that the president probably would want to avoid before this trip he has done. His comments about a number of hot topics in Britain like Brexit, like the royals and like the race to replace outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, the president has spoken out about all of those.

Those comments have drawn scrutiny and set the stage for a potentially controversial visit to the U.K. even though this is supposed to be an official state visit, something that is laden with formalities and (inaudible) and circumstance. So let's just take a look at some of what President Trump has said just on the past couple days.

On the topic of Brexit, the president has been critical of the way May handled negotiations with the European Union. He praised some of the people vying to replace her. And he said, "If you don't get a fair deal, you walk away, and if I were them, the British, I wouldn't pay $50 billion," That so-called divorce bill requested by the European Union.

And then of the race to replace Theresa May, President Trump praised Boris Johnson, one of the leading contenders to take the prime minister position and also praised Nigel Farage, he is a nationalist, he is a very vocal proponent of Brexit saying, "I like Nigel a lot and I think he's got a lot to offer."

And finally, some comments that he made about the Duchess of Sussex that some have interpreted as critical of her. The White House and President Trump himself, they pushed back on that characterization, but those have been some of the most controversial things the president said in the lead up to this visit to the U.K.

What he said was, "I didn't know she was nasty," that after being confronted with remarks that then Meghan Markle had made during the 2016 race criticizing President Trump. The bottomline is that there could be potentially some friction for the president when he goes to the U.K., Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and apparently he'll be meeting face to face with Prince Harry, so that will be interesting, the husband of the Duchess of Sussex. All right, so now give us a quick rundown then of, you know, the pomp and circumstance that is expected. What will the ceremonies be like?

WESTWOOD: Well Fred, on Monday he'll receive a ceremonial welcome with the Queen, with the Prince of Wales, he and First lady Melania Trump. And that night, they will attend a very formal state banquet at Buckingham Palace. The president's adult children and the First Lady are accompanying him to that.

Tuesday is a little bit more political. He'll be holding a breakfast meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, with British business leaders and then he will head to Downing Street for more talks with Theresa May. Again, that meeting could be awkward because the president has been critical of her.

And finally on Wednesday you he'll attend a D-Day commemoration before heading off to Ireland, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Sarah Westwood at the White House. Thank you so much. All right, so one British network, Sky News, is actually trolling Trump even before he arrives. It released this video showing an ominous shadow floating over England, eventually flying over the Royal Family in Buckingham Palace only to be revealed as the infamous baby Trump balloon.

All right, joining me right now, Reuters White House correspondent, Jeff Mason and CNN political analyst and national political correspondent for "Time," Molly Ball. All right, good to see you. So that's, you know, part of the red carpet being rolled out for the president's arrival.

So Molly, you know, just how unpopular is the president in the U.K. and how is that going to set the tone for this visit?

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think it actually will have too much to do with the tone of the visit because generally the president is pretty sheltered from whatever protests there are or whatever, you know, currents of public opinion there are in the general public.

The people he's meeting with are going to be polite to him particularly the royals. That's their whole thing, is extremely politeness and manners. So, I don't think it will have too much of an impact on the visit itself and the ceremonial things that he's doing.

[17:05:00] WHITFIELD: So Jeff, you know, the London mayor is among those who have, you know, spoken out, Sadiq Khan. He has penned an explosive op-ed just hours before Trump's arrival. And this is it in part, "It's so un-British to be rolling out the red carpet this week for a formal state visit for a president who's divisive behavior flies in the face of the ideals America was founded upon, equality, liberty, and religious freedom."

So this, along with, you know, the comment about Meghan Markle, Boris Johnson, you know, a British leader, the stage, you know, has been -- has not been set for a smooth visit, would you say?

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Well, it certainly going to be a controversial visit and I think it's worth noting at this point that, you know, the president wanted to do a state visit to the U.K. much earlier than this, and that opposition from a lot of British citizens was no doubt one of the reasons that this has been delayed until 2019, but he is finally doing it.

I suspect he will get a sense of the protests that are going on. And if that blimp flies and I suspect that he's going to find out about it although I'm sure if there are any counter-protest, that he'll focus more on that. But Molly is certainly right, that the main part of the visit will be him meeting with people who are going to be polite to him.

But this certainly hangs over that trip and the fact that he's kicking off the trip with that interview in which he weighed in on such specific things going on in U.K. politics. That stirred up a lot of controversy as well. And these are leaders presumably who he will have to be working with in the future once Theresa May is out of office.

WHITFIELD: And Molly, you know, his people have to be concerned or at least want to convey to him, you know, protocol or, you know, what to do, what not to do, but then it's the -- is he listening, you know, to that kind of advice?

I mean, surely someone would have to walk him through, you know, how you present yourself to the queen among other things. But it didn't work last time, might it this time?

BALL: I think most of the people around Trump have given up on trying to teach him or tell him what to do. Of course, there will be an effort to brief him on both the ceremonial aspects and the substance of the things he's going to be dealing with on the visit.

But you really did see, covering the White House, much more aggressive attempts to do that by the president's staff earlier on in his presidency. And at this point, they sort of have accepted and I think, you know, a lot of the leaders he's dealing with feel the same way. The special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K., which has historically been so important to both countries, that has been badly strained by Trump and by the interactions that he's had with Theresa May and with others. But at this point, they have realized he's not going to change and there is this feeling that they are sort of tolerating him until they don't have to deal with him any more.

WHITFIELD: And Jeff, you know, this trip coming at a time where -- while his approval rating remains the same, new CNN polling shows that there is a growing support for impeachment, going up 4 percent in the last month. Does that impact the reception at all?

MASON: Well, that's a good question. I think that the Brits are probably watching U.S. politics closely just as some here have been watching everything that's going on in Britain with Brexit and with Prime Minister May closely.

Whether or not the polling on impeachment affects his visit, it's hard to say. It certainly will have an impact back here as lawmakers are coming back into town after their recess and Democrats are confronted with how to proceed.

I think Speaker Pelosi and others in the Democratic leadership have made clear that they don't have a whole lot of appetite for impeachment right now because it would not succeed in the Senate, but as pressure mounts, and with him away this week, we'll see if more names are added to that list.

WHITFIELD: And Molly, we know that the president was rather rattled by, you know, Bob Mueller taking to the microphone. And the president also described the word impeachment as, you know, a dirty word among other things. So, with polling like this, does this bother him, affect him at all?

BALL: Well, I mean, the president is very concerned with polls, but what he tends to do is find the polls even if they're phony polls that make him look good and publicize those. I don't think he's ever really internalized the idea that he's quite unpopular. He's always been unpopular since the beginning of his presidency.

But he does see impeachment as a political loser if the democrats were to take it up, and that's why the Democrats have this impression that he's almost trying to goad them into it, poking them. And poking them, certainly no president wants to be impeached. But he, like the Democratic leadership, believes that if the Democrats were to undertake it, it would not end well for them no matter how it ended for him.

[17:09:50] WHITFIELD: And Jeff, you know, you're a long time -- I'm really pulling on your long time experience in the White House covering it. And we talk about the White House military office, and now in the middle of this, you know, kerfuffle about a request, you know, to move the USS John S. McCain.

The Navy and acting Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan, now confirming that the White House did ask for the USS McCain to be moved during Trump's recent visit to Japan. It wasn't moved but the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, defended the request today saying, "it wasn't unreasonable."

I mean, what is the history of this White House military office making requests or initiating things like this largely to protect a president's feelings?

MASON: Sure. I mean, I'm not aware of any history or precedent for that happening at all. And I think that someone maybe able to correct me on that, but I'm certainly not familiar with any precedent there. And I think it goes to show the extent to which people in the White House have received the message from President Trump about his distaste for -- the now deceased Senator John McCain.

He has made it OK for people to feel that they need to make that decision. And I think, you know, you can back that up by looking at how he has reacted to McCain's comments and actions in the past when the senator died.

The president objected at first to having the flags lowered to half staff over the White House. So, it's that atmosphere that has led people to make decisions like that, even though the president said it wasn't at his direction and he was surprised by it.

WHITFIELD: You say it may have been well intentioned, too.

MASON: Indeed.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jeff Mason, Molly Ball, thanks to both of you. Good to see you.

BALL: Thank you.

MASON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, officials reveal the gunman who killed 12 people in Virginia Beach, resigned from his job on the day of the rampage. What else we're learning from co-workers.

Plus, Italy tries to give Steve Bannon the boot. The fight over a medieval monastery and Bannon's plans to set up a far right academy.

Plus, these people in Italy running for their lives as a massive cruise ship smashes into the dock and a tourist boat. Details coming up.


WHITFIELD: The man who opened fire on his boss and co-workers in Virginia Beach Friday was not fired. He did quit a few hours before he walked into his workplace and started shooting. That's according to city officials today still processing the deadly magnitude of Friday's gun rampage.

Twelve people will die in that city office building before the shooter could be stopped and killed. CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Virginia Beach. So Miguel, you also just got an update on the four people who survived this massacre but badly hurt.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, badly, in critical condition. One of them is just out of surgery and back in critical condition, maybe have to go back into surgery next week. All of them suffered terrible wounds from this attack.

The two that were -- that died either on the way to the hospital or one that died in the hospital, it was multiple gunshot wounds to each of those individuals, so it was just very difficult for the staff there at the hospital to deal with this.

With regard to the shooter and that e-mail resignation on that morning, the city coming out -- the city manager coming out and saying this was not an individual who was fired, who was in the process of being fired, that had any issues of any sort. He was in good standing with the department.

Everyone CNN has spoken to, everyone other news agencies has spoken too has said this was a quiet, unassuming, friendly individual. What may be most horrific and terrifying about this situation is that this is a person who seemed to be doing just fine one moment and the next this, 12 people dead.

This is one of several memorials in the city that's now popped up here, people dropping off flowers, balloons, candles, saying a little prayer. Crosses (ph) that we now see at these scenes all across the country have popped up. People are signing their names to the crosses in solidarity and support.

But just a great sense of frustration and a lack of the ability to deal, to understand why, how in the world could this happen in yet another place at an office building to this sort of places that these sort of attacks happen now.

No place in this country feels safe, and people are quite concerned about that. Virginia Beach, Virginia now, you know, joins a very grim list of U.S. cities that have seen this sort of violence, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Yes, so sad. All right, Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.

Coming up, Italy serves Steve Bannon with an eviction notice. How the country is disrupting his plans to use a medieval monastery as a far right training academy.



WHITFIELD: That was a pretty terrifying moment, when an out of control cruise ship ran into a riverboat and dock in Venice, Italy. A witness said the noise of the horn and the image of the ship seemed like something out of a disaster movie. Fortunately, only minor injuries were reported.

Officials say the cruise ship was about to dock when it experienced a mechanical issue and rammed that riverboat before hitting that dock. And new today, Steve Bannon's plans to use a medieval monastery as the site of a far right training academy have hit a bump.

Bannon had hoped to run the school out of the 13th century property near Rome, but Italian officials say they are revoking the lease because a failure to maintain the site and pay fees. According to the "Washington Post," the monastery was going to be filled with students who wanted to master the tools of populous politics, a "gladiator school of cultural warriors."

Bannon told CNN's Sarah Westwood that they plan to appeal the ruling, saying "we have not yet begun to fight." And that brings us to your weekend presidential brief. And with me now, CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd, who spent two years helping prepare the daily brief for President Obama. So Sam, with this eviction so to speak, is Bannon a man now in search of a home?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: He is a rolling stone in search of a far right home, Fredricka. And this monastery was really just one piece of his larger plan to create a Judeo-Christian alliance throughout the world.

He was looking to use this monastery as a school, but he's also been cozying up to any far right officials that will listen to him in countries like Italy where Salvini leads the league party and British politicians like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson whom President Trump may see this week.

Whether or not these officials actually want Bannon's help is unclear, but what is clear is that far-right narratives are resonating in Europe. Far-right parties won more seats than any time in history in recent E.U. parliamentary elections. And whether or not Bannon's involved, they are having an impact throughout the continent.

WHITFIELD: And so the fact that the president, you know, and Bannon for that matter, has been in touch with his British leaders, Donald Trump getting ready to embark on his trip. How much of this might, you know, impact the tone?

VINOGRAD: Well, Trump has used most of his presidency as a 2020 campaign rally. And while he's overseas, he's probably going to try to interfere in other country's politics.

[17:25:02] The Trump team has taken an, I told you so approach on Brexit. President Trump and Don, Jr. have said that if Theresa May had just listened to President Trump she wouldn't be at this current impasse. I still struggle to come up with what Don, Jr.'s credentials on Brexit are. But regardless, they interfered directly in this process.

President Trump has also weighed in directly when it comes to the prime minister of Britain. He has thrown his weight behind Boris Johnson both last summer before he visited the U.K. And this time around his most recent interview with "The Sun," you have to wonder what he would say if Theresa May or Macron said such nice things about Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren.

And he's likely -- election interference won't just be contained to the U.K. He is also visiting France where he's previously expressed support for Marine La Pen who was Emmanuel Macron's biggest rival. That was before her party won in recent E.U. parliamentary elections.

So in France, there is going to be one of these do not congratulate moments and we all know that President Trump doesn't have a lot of self-control in these moments.

WHITFIELD: And then recently, apparently, you know, Trump was OK when North Korea's Kim Jong-un criticized 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. And now there are some reporting that Kim actually may have executed two of his top negotiators after that failed summit in Hanoi with the president of the United States. So what will that do to denuclearization talks and expectations?

VINOGRAD: Well that's right. One South Korean media outlet is reporting that Kim executed two of his top negotiators. The report is unverified, but it wouldn't be the first time. Kim Jong-un assassinated his half-brother with a nerve agent and then executed his uncle for allegedly being part of a coup.

So while the report is unverified, it wouldn't be out of character. But Fred, it's irrelevant from a policy standpoint. Typically, if a foreign leader executes his officials and engages in gross human rights abuses, that leads to reprimands or a policy course correction by the United States.

President Trump has already said that Kim Jong-un can do whatever he wants just as long as he doesn't break his promise to him not to test intermediate range missiles or nuclear missiles so this won't have any impact on denuclearization talks.

One thing is clear though, Kim Jong-un and President Trump have at least one thing in common. They like to blame everyone but themselves when the fruits of their labor are rotten.

The Hanoi summit didn't go wrong because Kim Jong-un's negotiators weren't any good. It went wrong because it was ill-conceived and ill- prepared from the get-go by President Trump and by Kim Jong-un.

WHITFIELD: And the president walked out.

VINOGRAD: He did because he didn't get what he wanted.

WHITFIELD: All right. Samamtha Vinograd, thank you so much, Sam. Appreciate it.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up. Conceived in war, lost in peace as we near the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a new look at the thousands of mixed race British babies born to G.I.'s.


WHITFIELD: The hiker who was rescued after going missing for more than two weeks in a Hawaiian forest is now apologizing for comments she made and for putting those looking for her in potential harm's way. Amanda Eller was found last weekend after being lost for 17 days. She had severe sunburn, no shoes and had lost nearly 15 pounds.

She faced criticism for likening her struggle to stay alive to a spiritual journey like she now says getting lost was not intentional and calls herself irresponsible for going into the woods unprepared.

Thousands of biracial babies torn away from their families in the wake of World War II grew up longing to know their biological parents. Well now, some of those kids, all grown up now, are reuniting with their African-American fathers and British mothers, but others are still searching. Here is CNN's Isa Soares bringing us this report ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When African-American soldiers arrived in Britain in the Second World War, their bravery was instrumental in the war effort. But it was also the start of a story of love, loss and a lifetime of searching.

DAVE GREENE, G.I. BABY: That is the first one that I can remember my mom showing me of this handsome chap that she was so in love with.

SOARES (voice-over): Around 2,000 mixed race babies were born from relationships between black G.I.'s and white British women. The romances born from wartime dances were torn apart by peace.

GREENE: She always spoke with great fondness of my father. She told me she would have loved to have gone to the states.

SOARES (voice-over): The U.S. Army refused black G.I.'s permission to marry their white British girlfriends or make paternity claims.

And she loved your father you said?

GREEBE: Yes, no doubt about it. No doubt about it. I don't think she ever got over him.

SOARES (voice-over): After growing up in a white family, more than 50 years passed before G.I. baby, Dave Greene, tracked down and met his black father for the first time in Brooklyn. But many G.I. babies have never known the love of either of their parents.

Hundreds of the mixed race and so-called illegitimate babies were put in children's homes, the stigma too much for many mothers to cope in what was then a very white Britain.

At Holnicote House in Somerset, West England, around 20 mixed race G.I. babies were raised until they reach the age of 5, at which point they were sent to other homes or adopted. Their identity struggles began when they were sent away from other children that looked like them.

Deborah Prior and Carol Edwards were given up as babies by their mothers and live together at Holnicote. They both remember their time there fondly.

DEBORAH PRIOR, G.I. BABY: There was a group of us all about the same age, all born '44, '45, and we were in the cots together, we shared potties together. We played together.

CAROL EDWARDS, G.I. BABY: Ate off the same plate.

PRIOR: Yes, we ate off the same plate. That was our family.

SOARES (voice-over): But the pain of never really knowing their birth parents has defined their lives.

PRIOR: We weren't allowed to be white, and yet we weren't black.

EDWARDS: As a teenager, I did question, who was I? Who am I?

[17:35:03] PRIOR: It's like a missing piece.

SOARES (voice-over): New research for the book, "Britain's Brown Babies" has only found one child successfully adopted by his American father.

LEON LOMAX, G.I. BABY: This is after they picked me up from the airport and brought me home. I felt very lucky and very fortunate. It was really hard for him to find me. So, that's another way I am fortunate.

SOARES (voice-over): Leon's mother gave up rights to him as a baby. But at the age of 3, his father tracked him down in a children's home and flew him to the United States. He still bares the scars of his mother's choice.

LOMAX: There's always kind of like a void. And that void will always be there because I never got to meet her. I know, as a kid, it really hurt me when she left because I have a distant memory of standing in the corner of a crib crying real hard.

SOARES (voice-over): Liam's questions remain, did she want to give him up or was she forced? Many years later, he found out where his mother was. She had tragically died two years previously. Her gravestone was all he got to see.

LOMAX: There were just a lot of questions that I wanted to ask her. My sister, you know, gave me this picture and she also gave me her wedding ring, which I wear all the time. And it was one of the best gifts I've ever gotten in my life.

SOARES (voice-over): For hundreds of Britain's G.I. babies, distant memories of love offer some comfort, but they will never quench the desire for answers. Isa Soares, CNN, Somerset, England.


WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, casualties of the trade war, the Dow tanking and everything from your next car to your next beer, could feel the cost of President Trump's newest trade move against Mexico. [17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, you've heard by now, President Trump is upping the ante in his bid to secure the southern border by threatening tariffs on one of our biggest trading partners, Mexico. But what does that mean for you, the consumer? As Tom Foreman explains, it could mean higher prices on everything from cars to groceries.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More than a third of all vegetables bought in the U.S., wine, beer and snack foods too, more than a third of all televisions, nearly half of all air conditioners, machinery, medical tools and much more.

Americans buy so much from Mexico, economists are warning a new tariff on Mexican goods could hit very hard especially when it comes to cars. Every U.S. auto plant uses parts from Mexico, which is the largest foreign supplier. Almost $60 billion worth of parts were imported from Mexico last year alone.

And while automakers have supported Trump's efforts to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, an industry group says the imposition of tariffs against Mexico will undermine its positive impact and would impose significant cost on the U.S. auto industry. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling Trump's proposed tariff a tax, plain and simple.

NEIL BRADLEY, CHIEF POLICY OFFICER, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: It's at 5 percent, that's $17 billion in additional taxes on American consumers and businesses.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The president's defenders say no way. His use of tariffs is a powerful tool to force other nations to trade more fairly and consumers will not be squeezed.

PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The government of China and Mexico will pay for it and the producers in Mexico and China pay for this.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But China already feeling the heat of Trump's trade policies is currently threatening to hit back by restricting exports of rare natural minerals mined there, metals critical to high tech and manufacturing companies in the U.S. Such a move could drive up the cost of electric cars, cell phones and other products paid for once again by American consumers.

(on camera): So, How much could it cost you? Well, it's more than just a few cents on a piece of fruit. If the Trump administration goes through with its most severe threat, a 25 percent tariff on Mexican goods, that means according to one analyst, that the average cost of a new car could rise $1,300. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: So how is Trump's trade war with Mexico impacting the markets? CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, has your "Before the Bell" report.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Fredricka. Well, the bulls are glad to put May behind them. The major averages all fell, posting their first losing month of the year. President Trump's Mexico tariff threat only adding to trade jitters.

DAVID KELLY, CHIEF GLOBAL STRATEGIST, J.P. MORGAN FUNDS: The first round would start at 5 percent on June 10th then rise each month going up 25 percent by October 1st if Mexico doesn't slow the number of migrants coming to the U.S. The investors are already dealing with an escalating Chinese trade war and a slowing global economy. All of this means the days of big stock market returns may be over.

The U.S. economy is slowing down. I think profits look fairly secure. I think profits will rise this year. I think interest rates will remain low. I think stocks will probably go up. What we should be looking at, I see a stock market gains of like 5 percent per year not 10 percent per year going forward. So people just have to adjust their expectations.

ROMANS: So, is the U.S. economy strong enough to withstand some damage from the tariffs? This week, investors will get a key piece of information. The Labor Department releases the May jobs report on Friday. April was a surprisingly strong month. The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs and that jobless rate fell to 3.6 percent. But if tariffs start to weigh on business confidence, that could slow hiring. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.


WHITFIELD: All right, 20 years ago, he was shot by a 17-year-old gang member and left to die. Now, a former sheriff prepares to meet the man who pulled the trigger changing his life forever. Here's a preview of tonight's edition of "The Redemption Project."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took a while to get there because I had -- like the hatred for the police was real. You know what I mean, for me, you know, even though I felt sorry for what I did, it was kind of hard for me to understand how can I have empathy for somebody that's an officer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Jason somebody that, you know, has -- is capable of empathy? I don't know and I'd love to, you know, say I'm like some super mind reader, you know, and that I, you know, am capable of, you know, looking at somebody's soul. None of us can do that.


WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now is the host, Van Jones, the host of "The Redemption Project." Van, good to see you. So, this is a story, you know, that's being repeated over and over again, a conflict between a white police officer and a young African-American. So tell us more about what happened the night that Jason, a former gang member, shot Tom the sheriff.

[17:50:01] VAN JONES, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, hopefully you will get a chance to see it tonight. It's one of the more powerful episodes in this series, you know, we have at "The Redemption Project." The point is, we find people who have done bad things, who has gone to prison for those bad things and then still in prison, but who want to make amends, who want to atone.

And we put them together with the person that they hurt and we just film them having a conversation. This one is just mind blowing because these two guys, 20 years ago, were trying to kill each other. They had weapons out. They were, you know, trying to kill each other.

And the way that this particular series of events occurred, the officer thank God survived. The young man wound up going to prison. And now 23 years later, and they're sitting down having a conversation. And what comes out about the racial dynamics in law enforcement, what comes out about some of the reasons some of these kids are joining gangs and making these terrible decisions, is just mind blowing.

There is a level of rawness. There is a level of revelation that happens. And it's a surprise ending as well. So this is a very, very powerful episode at 9:00 tonight.

WHITFIELD: So we saw a hint, you know, of Jason's feeling of like, you know, it would be difficult for him to have empathy for a police officer. So then what brings them together? What place are both of these individuals in, in order to come together and see each other differently for the first time?

JONES: Yes. I don't want to give any spoilers to this show, but what we have seen over and over again is that, you know, 20 years later, after these incidents happen, whether it's law enforcement, whether it's a hit-and-run, whether it's, you know, gang on gang violence, 20 years later, both people are different people.

Often, the person who has been hurt has internalized those injuries, has figured out a way to live with some of those injuries, but still has some nightmares, still has some unresolved fear and anger. The families are impacted. But also the person behind bars, we often assume that when somebody goes away to prison, they just, I don't know, they disappear or they continue to live, continue to grow.

And 20 years later none of us are the same person. And so what you see with case after case, there are some diamonds behind those walls. The people who have turned adversity into progress and this is a case where somebody goes from being in a very, very dark place, in their lives and making a very, very terrible decision. And I think you are going to be surprised by how both men have reflected and learned from that night when they were trying to kill each other.

WHITFIELD: All right. This is helping to educate so many people. Van Jones, thank you so much. Of course, we will all be watching "The Redemption Program" with Van Jones tonight 9:00 eastern right here on CNN. And she helped mend the country's divisions, one meal at a time.

Legendary New Orleans chef, Leah Chase, who fed everyone from presidents to freedom writers, passed away Saturday at age of 96- years-old, lovingly referred as the "Queen of Creole Cuisine."

She famously broke segregation laws by seating black and white customers together at her restaurant, Dooky Chase. She earned numerous accolades during her seven decade-culinary career and even inspired the character Princess Tiana in the Disney movie "The Princess and the Frog." Our hearts go out to the family.

Coming up, what not to say to the Queen of England, Jeanne Moos reports on the awkward topics from Trump's past involving the royals.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. There are a few topics President Trump might want to avoid during his state visit to England tomorrow. The question is, will he? Here's Jeanne Moos.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whether attending a state dinner with the queen or getting pointers from her majesty, we have a few pointers of our own about topics President Trump should avoid. Don't apologize for the last time you reviewed the guard together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He broke royal protocol by walking in front of the queen, but she quickly stepped forward.

MOSS: No point in reminding her of all those jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's cutting her off like he's trying to beat her to the early bird special.

MOOS: Be especially careful Mr. President, not to mention the tweet you posted about Prince William's wife back when French paparazzi shot her sunbathing nude. "Only herself to blame," you wrote. "Who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sun bathing thing. Come on, Kate!" And definitely don't bring up what Howard Stern coaxed you to say about Lady Diana two decades ago.

HOWARD STERN, RADIO PERSONALITY (voice-over): Would you have slept with her?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): Without even hesitation. Lady Di had super model beauty.

STERN (voice-over): Really?

MOOS: And positively leave out the part where you said she was crazy.

TRUMP (voice-over): I told, but you know, these are minor details.

MOOS: Another detail, after recently giving birth, Meghan Markle isn't expected to be on hand for the state visit. But maybe the royals should stay mum about what Meghan once said about Trump.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: With as misogynistic as Trump is and so vocal about it --

MOOS: And don't remind the president of that 2017 parliamentary debate about whether he should be invited for a state visit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pimping out the queen for the Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Walker, I don't think it's in order to refer to pimping out our sovereign.

MOOS: And most of all royals, keep President Trump away from the T.V. where he might see this promo for coverage of his visit. It could cast a shadow on the festivities. Jeanie Moos, CNN, New York.


WHITFIELD: Hopefully, everybody has a sense of humor. All right, that's going to do it for me. I'm Fredricak Whitfield. Thanks for being with me this weekend. Keep it right here. Because up next, three back-to-back Democratic CNN presidential town halls.

Massachusetts congressman, Seth Moulton, at 6:00, Ohio congressman, Tim Ryan, at 7:00 and California Congressman, Eric Swalwell, at 8:00 all right here on CNN live from the CNN center in Atlanta. And that's followed by "The Redemption Project" with Van Jones at 9:00 p.m. And "United Shades of America" with W. Kamau Bell at 10:00 p.m.

[17:59:58] It all starts right now.