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Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) Was Interviewed About What She Saw in One of El Paso, Texas Migrant Facilities; President Trump's Version of 4th of July Celebration; Patriotism Mixed with Politics. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 2, 2019 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: CNN Tonight with Laura Coates, in for D. Lemon starts right now.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: You know, Chris, what a case for diplomacy you just made. That graphic just scared me. I mean, patriotism on the decline? Can you imagine that?

CUOMO: I can, because we are what we hear. Very often. And when the dialogue and us as amplifiers of that saying we are often to blame for magnifying the wrong message. It wears on you. How many people, Coates, the more and more involved that you get here at CNN tell you, Laura, I love you. You're so smart, I just can't listen anymore. I can't take it. I can't. I can't hear it. How many people tell you that?

COATES: Well, maybe I'm glass half full kind of person. I look at that and say it's because you believe so much in the U.S. It disappoints you that this is the moment as that's really an aberration. Not indicative of the character.

And so, I hope that that will turn up the other way. But a lot of that has to do with people and you're talking about the idea of diplomacy. If we're only showing strength that we're and not using our head, we're not using our minds or common sense or the very values that America supposed to hold dear. It's very hard for people to feel as proud as they should be in this nation.

CUOMO: Yes. Look, a 100 percent. And these things are complicated. Messaging can be complicated. And again, I may get beat up for this. But I don't care if there are tanks there. It's not something we traditionally do because we don't see ourselves as a military state.

But you want to show our might, show our might. I just don't think it's our greatest strength.

COATES: Now I --


CUOMO: I think that's diversity in our people. And that's getting lost in this president's messaging too often. It's too much us versus them and instead of we. And that's what has always led us to victory when we've been put to the test.

COATES: Was that all saying we the people. Well, interesting we talk about patriotism because tonight we're talking about that. Chris, thank you for your show as always.

This is CNN Tonight. I am Laura Coates sitting in for Don Lemon.

And there's no question that what's happening on our southern border is a crisis. The vast majority of Americans three quarters in our new CNN poll agree and we're learning and seeing by the way, just how bad it is tonight.

Homeland security's own internal watchdog releasing photos of what they call dangerous overcrowding and calling on the government to do something. What those photo shows is heartbreaking.

And it's happening in America right as we speak. Right now. This one at a border patrol station in McAllen, Texas. It seems to show mostly men fenced in, in a pen. But notice a little girl in a pink flowered skirt in someone's arms right behind the fence.

A little child with no room to run or play or to be a kid. These photo at the same facility show families huddled under foil blankets. So many of them lying on the concrete floor and benches.

There's no room for anyone else. Look at the children on top of their mothers. More families on the bare concrete floor. More foil blankets. Children apparently sleeping on top of their moms. And a child on the left wearing only a diaper.

Now this is a cell that's meant to hold a maximum, a maximum of 41 men. But more than twice that many 88 adult men are crowded together. One is holding a card board sign up to that window. And it appears to say "help. Forty days here."

That's at Fort Brown station in Brownsville, Texas. Can anybody look at those pictures and think and look at those and see that pictures from the government's own watchdog and say this is the way we want to treat people in the United States of America.

Just a moment I'll talk with Congresswoman Nora -- Norma Torres who toured three border facilities in Texas. And she'll tell me what she saw and what she heard from the people in detention.

And we've got news on a very big controversy brewing with Independence Day on the horizon. The story starts with a sneaker. But it's about so much more than that.

Nike cancelling its Fourth of July Air Max 1 Quick Strike. The Wall Street Journal report it's because of a complaint from activist and former NFL star Colin Kaepernick who objected to Nike's use of the 13- star Betsy Ross American flag with (Inaudible) slavery era and it's used by some today as a symbol of white supremacy.

Now it's undeniable that our flag represents the birth of our country. It was certainly not a symbol of freedom for people of color who were brought to the shores in chains. That's a painful part of American history. And we do a disservice to our ideas and to each other if we try to sweep it under the rug.

We can speak the truth about our history without surrendering that flag to white supremist. Are we letting hate mongers hijack our earliest American flag? Does it matter to you?

[22:04:57] Well now to a CNN exclusive, our Nick Valencia spoke to a long-time border patrol agent in El Paso about the horrific conditions at migrant facilities and offensive online post by other agents. And what that agent said is stunning.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're taking a big risk doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what Americans need to know. They need to know the truth.


VALENCIA: A border patrol agent who's had enough. In a CNN exclusive interview, the veteran agent who agreed to go on camera only if their identity was concealed, expressed disgust at a closed Facebook group reportedly compromised of thousands of current and former agents.

ProPublica the first to expose the group, "I'm 1015." The lewd and sexist content about Latina members of Congress including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The agent telling CNN being derogatory is part of the border patrol culture. Even hearing a supervisor joke about dead migrants.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was making fun of them.

VALENCIA: Saying what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That what different does it make. It's just another life. He made a comment also regarding running over illegals. And I'm like, you cannot run over people.


VALENCIA: In describing the conditions inside the El Paso detention facilities, the agent compared them to a zoo.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The holding facility, the cells. They are, what I would say filthy. We have a maintenance and cleaning crew that cleans the general area like the hall ways. But I have never seen them cleaning counters. Or cleaning toilets in the cells. Or cleaning sinks in the cell. Sometimes you go in a cell and there's trash everywhere.

VALENCIA: There are those in leadership in Customs and Border Protection?


VALENCIA: They say that migrants are getting basic human rights. What do you say to leaders who are saying migrants are getting basic human rights?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is basic human rights? A toilet paper? A water from the sink? Wearing the same clothing for days? I remember when there used to be a processing center we used to have, especially in winter we used to have these blankets. And 10 different aliens we use the same blanket. We recycle them, you know. We'll put them in a bag and that wouldn't get washed.

VALENCIA: I feel like, you know, multiple times during our interview, you know, you've sort of stared off in the distance and you've thought about some things that you've seen. I mean, it seems as though there are things that you might take home with you.


VALENCIA: Like what?


VALENCIA: What about the kids?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they just want hope. They want to believe in something. They want a future.

VALENCIA: Do you support President Trump's immigration policy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is our commander-in-chief. Unless he's unethical, illegal or immoral, we should obey.


VALENCIA: The question is, at what cost?

Nick Valencia, CNN, El Paso, Texas.

COATES: It's hard to see. Joining me now Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres of California. You know, she was part of a group of lawmakers who visited migrant facilities in Texas just yesterday.

Welcome to the show, Representative Torres. Nice to have you with us today. Especially you talk about this particular issue. You know, you just heard a border patrol agent from one of the El Paso facilities you visited yesterday. Say a supervisor joked about dead migrants. They say that they're being derogatory is part of the culture. Is that what you saw, Congresswoman?

REP. NORMA TORRES (D-CA): Absolutely, Laura. And thank you for the opportunity to be here with you.

We should be congratulating the heroic effort that this border patrol agent is showing by coming forward and being a witness to the criminal element that has taken over custody of the border patrol.

Who is in charge? I mean, that is my first question. When they are blatantly, openly going out there in a public forum, talking about hurting and sexually assaulting female members of Congress. Then how are we supposed to expect them to act towards single females, young mothers, and two-year-olds.

COATES: And of course, you say these images --


TORRES: It's unconscionable.

COATES: -- images are from the watchdog report. I mean, they're from the actual I.G. Not a partisan group.

TORRES: Right. It's worth taking a closer look at here at what's happening. And you can actually see women who are wearing masks with their faces against a window in a juvenile holding cell. You see a man praying. One, by the way, of 71 adult males in a cell that's meant for 41 adult females. Is this similar to what you saw, Representative Torres?

[22:10:00] TORRES: So, we did not see overcrowding the way those pictures are being portrayed when we visited the center. Many of the people had already been transferred out. So, they were down to in one area 25 people.

But the conditions of seeing young children under the age of 10, in a group type setting inside a jail cell with cement floors and nothing but this aluminum sheet over them is -- it was simply heartbreaking.

To see a little boy about the age of my grandson, knock on the window, calling our attention. He was so excited to see females walking to that -- into that room. And all we could hear him whisper was "papa, papa." Imagine how frightened that child is to have probably been separated from his guardian from his parent as he enters and set foot in our -- in our country.

COATES: You know --


TORRES: The one thing -- one thing that really brings me some relief is that there are many, many heroic lawyers out there that are taking testimony and actually archiving all of these injustices that have happened under the custody of the United States of America.

And I pray to God that the international courts will get involved and file a humanitarian crime against this government, against this administration that has allowed this to happen.

COATES: Well, we hope that the internal courts in the United States of America will also play a role in this as well. But this report over the notorious it does find extreme overcrowding which is evident by these pictures. In fact, here's how Fox News' Brian Kilmeade compared that

overcrowding at border facilities.

TORRES: Absolutely.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: We have a house family of five. You have a party. You have 30 people over. Maybe you have a big party of 100 people where you had two and a half baths. In the beginning it will be OK with 30. Then after 100 people it will be a little bit taxed. Maybe you got to get out to a facility. Can you picture 5,000? You got the best facilities in the world but they are so over stacked.


COATES: Comparing it to a party. What's your reaction?

TORRES: This is not a party. Nobody comes fleeing circumstances that these people are fleeing to come and enjoy a party of 900 people in a space meant for 150 people. That is outrageous.

COATES: Now you voted against the $4.6 billion Senate bill to send emergency funding to the border. Now even if the bill wasn't perfect why stop money from going to these facilities?

TORRES: Because voting against this bill for me gave me a voice in the process. The fact that they are denying basic humanitarian assistance to these children it is unconscionable.

That members of Congress thought that it was OK to negotiate a way human rights of a two-year-old by giving this government a blank check to utilize this money however they please.

You know what I saw? I saw a pantry full of food, potato chips, soup, dry soups. I also saw toothbrushes. What good is it to have a pantry full of supplies when those supplies are not getting to the people that need it the most?

COATES: Thank you for illuminating this issue and being part of the program. Norma Torres. I appreciate your time.

TORRES: Thank you.

COATES: Congresswoman, please come back. Thank you.

The president is promising a Fourth of July event that's a celebration of military might with jets screaming overhead and tanks on display in the capitol. But is he turning the nation's Independence Day celebration into a partisan political event?


COATES: You know, we're getting new details tonight about the president's planned salute to America celebration. What's not clear is just how much it will cost and who is going to pay for it. The other big unknown is whether our nation's celebration of the Fourth of July will turn into a partisan political event.

Kaitlan Collins has more.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump grand vision for a military parade is finally coming true. At least partially.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It will be like no other. It will be special and I hope a lot of people come.


COLLINS: On Thursday, Trump will turn Washington's annual Fourth of July celebration into a show of military might.

CNN has learned new details about the last-minute event which will feature tanks parked to the Lincoln Memorial, a fly over from the navy's Blue Angels, and Air Force One along with the unveiling of the new Marine 1 helicopter.


TRUMP: We're going to have planes going over our heads. The best fighter jets in the world, and other planes too. And we're going to have some tanks stationed outside.


COLLINS: Defense officials have long been hesitant about using the armed forces to advance a president's agenda and said there's no need for the U.S. to flaunt its military strength. But sources say Trump has asked the chiefs of the arms forces to stand by his side.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not just who we are as Americans.


COLLINS: The president is setting himself up for a clash with his critics who say he is turning the celebration into a partisan one. Asked Monday if his speech will reach all Americans he turned to Democrats.


TRUMP: So, I think I've reached most Americans. What the Democrats plan is this is going to destroy the country and it's going to be a horrible healthcare.


COLLINS: Today the White House went even further. Trump is expected to speak for 20 minutes Thursday and will touch on several topics including his administration.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: How wonderful this country is. Our troops and military, our great democracy and great call to patriotism, the success of this administration and opening up so many jobs for individuals. What we've done for veterans. There's no final form yet. But America will hear the whole speech.


COLLINS: Local officials say they have logistical concerns about putting military equipment in crowded tourist hot spots. The D.C. city council tweeting today, "Tanks, but no tanks."

But Trump is charging ahead.


TRUMP: The roads have a tendency not to like to carry heavy tanks so we have to put them in certain areas.


COLLINS: While the public will get to watch from afar, the areas closest to Trump will be reserved for VIPs who sources say will include his political allies.

[22:19:58] Trump has wanted a military parade of his own since seeing U.S. and French troops march through the streets of Paris two years ago.


TRUMP: It was one of the parades I've ever seen.


COLLINS: Today presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway sparred with reporters about the details of the event.


CONWAY: Do you know that the Fourth of July is a celebration of this country's independence? Are you aware of that? I thought you (AUDIO GAP) politicize it.


COLLINS: Now, Laura, clearly, the president seems dead set on going through with this event. But we should note that behind the scenes officials are still scrambling to deal with it logistically.

Military tanks were seen on train tracks in Washington today. And White House officials are still working on the rundown of the event, that we're told they're going to have 15,000 general admission tickets, 500 VIP tickets. But clearly, they're going to be hammering out the details up until the eleventh hour. Laura?

COATES: Kaitlan, thank you. Joining me now, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark. Welcome to the show. It's good to have you here, general.


COATES: You know, a lot of people are looking at this event and saying what is wrong with celebrating the military on July fourth? Can you explain why America has historically not displayed this military power at patriotic events.

CLARK: Well, actually, we do display our military on occasion. For example, on Armed Forces Day. Or on Memorial Day. And we recognize on Veterans Day to the Tomb of Unknown Soldier. And all of our military units hold parades to honor when soldiers leave the unit and so forth.

But, doing this in Washington, putting such a political spin on it, having the military there to burnish the representation of the president. Look, you got to hand it to the president, he's a great show boater. He knows how to capture public attention and he likes it with when he generates controversy. Like the discussion about this parade. It stokes the fires of his supporters.

But the truth is he's politicizing the armed forces when he does it this way. Fourth of July is always been about, it's been about barbecues and picnics and fire crackers and maybe the local fire department parade with a bunch of kids going down main street before they have the celebration.

And at night there's some fireworks. But it's not a political event. It's an event that's supposed to bring the people of the country together. I don't think the people of America can understand really what the damage is that President Trump is doing to American ideals when he takes actions such as this.


COATES: So here, I mean --

CLARK: The military doesn't belong in American domestic politics. It's that simple.

COATES: Well, it's supposed to be a political. That's certainly the case. We have reminders being apolitical in the military.

CLARK: That's right.

COATES: But here's counsel to the president, Kellyanne Conway with a preview of the president's speech.


CONWAY: How wonderful this country is. Our troops and military, our great democracy and great call to patriotism, the success of this administration and opening up so many jobs for individuals. What we've done for veterans. There's no final form yet. But America will hear the whole speech.


COATES: So, general, is the president planning on hijacking this event and going from a non-partisan to a partisan political speech?

CLARK: Of course, that's what it sounds like. His administration did not advent getting jobs for veterans. That's the first thing. But, you know, there is some successes here. I was one of many who objected to the big parade that he wanted two years ago putting tanks down Constitution Avenue and so forth. And we won that battle with him.

He backed off that. He's not doing that. Most of the troops are going to be at home enjoying Fourth of July with their families. That's where they should be.

So, we got to celebrate what we've won. And, Laura, it could be worse. I mean, we could be eating Trump hot dogs and he could be declaring that his birthday is a national holiday. So, I just hope the American people will put this in perspective and help us keep the armed forces out of American politics.

COATES: Well, general, thank you for your time. Always great to hear your particular viewpoint on these issues. Thank you.

CLARK: Thank you.

COATES: You know, Nike is pulling this shoe from stores after complaints about the design using the Betsy Ross version of the flag. Are they right? Or is this political correctness gone too far? I'll make my case next.


COATES: So only one full day to go before the nation celebrates the Fourth of July. The birth of the United States of America 243 years ago.

But tonight, Nike finds itself in a messy controversy about the holiday. And it's all because of this sneaker. Now it's called the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July. Featuring what sometimes is called the Betsy Ross version of the American flag from the late 18th century.

Now the flag shows 13 stars in a circle and 13 stripes. Signifying the original 13 colonies. The sneakers were supposed to be sold starting yesterday. Nike had already sent them to retailers.

But then it's now asking stores to return those shoes to the company. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nike decided not to sell the Fourth of July sneakers because it got complaints from Colin Kaepernick who has an endorsement deal with Nike.

Now he reportedly told the company that he and others find the Betsy Ross version of the flag offensive because of its connection to the era of slavery and because it's been appropriated by some white supremist as a new symbol of hate.

Now Nike is saying in a statement that it pulled the shoe based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation's patriotic holiday. Enter the backlash.

The governor of Arizona cancelled some incentives with the company which is building a factory near Phoenix. Governor Doug Ducey saying, "Instead of celebrating American history the week of our nation's independence, Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy and as vowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also condemning Nike.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I think we have a problem. I hope Nike either releases these shoes or some other shoemaker. Picks up the flag. Puts it on a pair of shoes and starts selling it. I'll make the first order.


[22:29:59] COATES: Really? Well, the flag was created as a symbol of freedom. And yet, slavery obviously denied that freedom to countless Americans.

Yes, it's symbolized the birth of America, but the freedom and promises for a lot of us who are black and brown, well, that freedom is in its infancy. And America's promise of equal for justice for all is largely unfulfilled.

But this issue is not just black and white. Is Nike's decision an example of political correctness that's been run amuck as some have claimed? Or is this exactly what you want your companies and your athletes and people with platforms to do? To use their social capital to move people toward progress, you'll have to decide for yourself. But consider this.

White supremacists are appropriating ideals and symbols for propaganda. Just ask Pepe the Frog or now OK hand sign. Betsy Ross is the latest example. The birth of America did begin with the taking of land from Native-Americans and the taking of human beings as slaves. It's ironic then that we find ourselves now asking this question. Are we going to allow white supremacists to take whatever symbol they want and allow them to define what it means to each of you?

And if we do so, are we yielding to bigotry and allowing them to take what was never theirs? Taking a knee is also protest, is an act of patriotism. But when it comes to racist ideology, America cannot bend its knee. We have got a lot to discuss tonight, and we'll do it all next.

[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: Nike's decision to pull their shoes with the Betsy Ross Flag on it has created a lot of controversy and a lot of backlash for Nike. Let's discuss now with former NFL player, Jack Brewer, also Midwin Charles, and Matt Lewis. I'll start with you, Jack. You know, give us your perspective on this. Do you think that Nike was right to pull the shoe?

JACK BREWER, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Of course. I mean, listen, people can buy what they want. This is America, free country. But for me, you know, those represent 13 colonies, those stars. Let's not forget what the definition of a colony is. It means you took someone's land. And so I want nothing to do with it. You know, as a black man in America, slavery is real, right?

We still have schools that are segregated. Both of my parents went to segregated schools. So it's real to me. And when you look at our black population, we're still the sickest, the poorest, and the most uneducated people in America. And that is our former slave population. And so let's just keep it real for a little while and understand what this means.

It's not about Colin Kaepernick. I don't agree with everything Colin Kaepernick does, say, and how he does it. But what I do know is I'm a black man. And I want my kids to know what that flag means. And my flag has 50 stars on it, not 13.

COATES: And, of course, a legacy of slavery we all know is quite real in the country. Do you agree, Midwin, is this particular flag in this symbol one of hate to you of the actual Betsy Ross Flag?

MIDWIN CHARLES, ESSENCE MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think the better question is what do white supremacists think of this flag, right? And I think that this flag has often been associated with white supremacists. And I think that's why I applaud Nike for pulling this sneaker, because at the end of the day, they did not want to be associated with a symbol that was attributed to or that has to do with slavery.

And I think they ought to be commended for that. And I think it's time in this country that we'd be frank and that we'd be honest. And we discuss the fact that slavery, hello, was not good, OK? And so anything related to slavery, any symbol that harkens back to the days of slavery is not a good thing. And so I don't understand what this controversy is about.

I think Nike ought to be applauded for recognizing that this is something that is hurtful, that this is something that goes back to a time that America should not be proud of. And they're recognizing that they need to take a step back.

COATES: You know, Matt, I'll get to you in a second. I do want to bring you in. But I have to ask you, talking about being frank. And you ask the question, Midwin, the better question is what do white supremacists think. A part of me says, well, did everyone recognize the Betsy Ross Flag as a symbol that white supremacists were using -- we know the Confederate flag, very, very clear. Pepe the Frog, very, very clear, Swastika's, very, very clear, the

Betsy Ross Flag surprised some people as being an association with white supremacy. Have they appropriated or are we giving them too much credit, or was this already known?

BREWER: No. I don't think so. You know, I'm not a liberal. Let me put it out. But I'm a pretty conservative guy, right? But I know that I have a lot of conservative friends that today after I did my first hit on a different station today, they all called and thanked me, because they didn't see it that way. And that's what this is about. It's about education. This is America, right?

We're made of all kinds of things, right? Most of us are immigrants. But some of us were slaves. So I'll say it again. Most of us were immigrants. But some of us were slaves. Let's not forget that fact, because it does touch us a little bit different as slaves. And if you're not from the slave population or the former slave population, you may not see it that way because we're in our bubbles.

COATES: Now, Matt, you don't see it this way. You actually think that Nike's decision to pull it was political correctness that was run amuck. Explain your position.

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I can talk on that on this. It's unpatriotic, first of all. By the way, let me say, I don't think we should let bigots hijack our symbols. This has been a flag that's been around for 200 years. We're about to celebrate the birth of this country, our freedom, our independence from Great Britain. I didn't know until today that this was in any way associated with white supremacy, which I condemn.

But I don't want to let bigots hijack our symbols. Now, look, the arguments that I have heard so far tonight against the Betsy Ross Flag could be used against celebrating the fourth of July. Like if you -- if anything that happened during this horrible time when (Inaudible) a very happened -- it was a thing it's very bad.

[22:40:03] We shouldn't be celebrating the Fourth of July. We shouldn't celebrate the Declaration of Independence. We shouldn't celebrating Thomas Jefferson or George Washington by the same logic.

COATES: Well, Matt, I see your point. But the idea here in terms of everything cannot be attributed to one thing. However, the larger issue we're discussing, Matt, is the idea that this flag has been co- opted by some white supremacists, just by the other symbols that were once benign essentially, had been transformed and used. Do you see this as an idea -- this is of our current flag you're seeing on the screen right now for the KKK that was disseminated by an upstate New York just last summer.

And in one hand, the KKK member has a Confederate flag, and in the other a Betsy Ross Flag. And a local news reporter (Inaudible) this flag had been used in the KKK ceremonies as well. Does that make it even more about political correctness or was this actually saying look. It is used in this way and we can't ignore that. LEWIS: I feel like you too said about that song Helter Skelter when

they said Charles Manson stole it from the Beatles. We're stealing it back.


COATES: Don't bring Bono into this, Matt Lewis.


LEWIS: This is a flag -- this is a flag that was created 200 years ago when there were 13 original colonies, 13 original colonies that fought for their independence from Great Britain and created the best, strongest, freest country. Yes, born with original sin. But there was a promissory note written there by Thomas Jefferson that all men are created equal.


COATES: You know, Matt, those promissory notes by Jefferson are the kind of was written in different script. But Midwin, you have got on green like me. I'll give you a word in.


CHARLES: Because we both got the memo.


COATES: We have this memo, but the memo that other people are not getting and maybe they don't understand. Tell me your position about why do you think, if this is based in part on white supremacist using this particular symbol. Is Nike in some ways bending a knee to white supremacy?

CHARLES: It's not just about the fact that white supremacists have co-opted this symbol. It's about the fact that this country has a history that is painful. That is difficult for a large segment of the people who still are here. And I think that that's the most important thing here. You know, I have heard, you know, your guests just talk about, you know, July 4th and what that represents, and freedom, and equality for everybody.

But that was not the case. That was not the case on July 4th, 17, you know, what have you. That just was not the case for black people. And so I think that's what's missing from all of this. When you have the 13 colonies, you had slavery in America at the time, so whether or not...


LEWIS: Should we not celebrate the fourth?


LEWIS: Isn't that an argument not to celebrate the fourth? (CROSSTALK)

CHARLES: Let me finish my point.


COATES: Hold on, everyone. I did hear your point, Matt. It was raised. I want to have Midwin address that final point. But I want to give you the final word, Jack, on this issue, because I do want to know if Colin Kaepernick were not involved in this, if his name had not raised, and this was already brewing on social media already. Would it have been this big of an issue?

BREWER: I don't think so. I think it would have still got some attention, just because the society we live in. But listen, Colin Kaepernick is controversial for a lot of people in America, right? He started off his kneeling, about wearing socks depicting cops as pigs. So he turned off some people, right? I'm with Colin. I get just as pissed off when I see a black man get shot. I even get more mad when I see over the last month 100 kids shot in Chicago, 50 killed in Philadelphia, 30 killed in St. Louis, Missouri.

That hits my heart to the core. And so we have real issues in this country. But to your guests, I just want to say, man. We have changed a lot of the things in our country, right? The star spangled banner was written, right, no reference to say hiring of slaves. That got taken out the star spangled banner, right? We had 13 colonies, which mean we went and took land in 13 states from people, right?

We changed that. And now, we have 50 states. We have a new flag. Let's be the new America that we can become. Let's come together as one. Unite as a nation. Fix our problems that we have here in this country. And that starts with the accepting the fact that we were built as a racist nation.

COATES: And, of course, I think Midwin's point. I thank you both, all of you for coming on the show today. To your point, the idea that America is still evolving and has yet achieved its aspirations. Thank you very -- be right back.


COATES: You're looking at armored vehicles right now arriving on the National Mall just a few moments ago for the Fourth of July celebration. We'll keep an eye on that for you. But now I want to turn to a bombshell verdict. It happened tonight in a very closely watched murder case. A decorated Navy SEAL team leader Eddie Gallagher, he has been found not guilty of premeditated murder in the death of an ISIS prisoner in Iraq in 2017.

I want to bring in Joey Jackson right now. He is a criminal defense attorney and wonderful attorney at that. Joey, this was a huge bombshell, wasn't it, the idea that he was found not guilty.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wow, without question it was. Now, obviously, any trial that nuances, you know if you're not in a courtroom everyday. Perhaps you missed something. You missed the other thing. But in following this closely and you have seven counts, of course, the top count premeditated murder, and then, of course, attempted murder as it related to snipe shooting an elderly shooting at them a young girl.

[22:49:53] And you have a number of people who worked with him under his command, who came in and said, you know what, he did all this. They testified. And the two narratives were really this. On the one hand, you have the prosecution saying that he had run amuck. This was a guy who totally and completely not only was obstructing of justice, but was attempting, you know, did in fact kill this ISIS person who was in their custody.

COATES: Stabbed him.

JACKSON: Stabbed him. And there were seven people who came in and said he did it. We saw him do it. Of course, there was that twist, of course, where the medic said he didn't do it. I in fact, engaged in a mercy killing, which threw the trial into a big frenzy. But you had a number of witnesses, Laura, who essentially said that he was the guy who killed this person. And he was also the guy who was shooting and sniping at people.

And he was just a person who was out of control and needed to be stopped. The narrative, however, for the defense in co-opting that was saying look. This is an old school soldier. He's a person who these millennials did not like. And they would do anything to get rid of him, including lie about what he was doing. And apparently, that narrative carried the day.

Big shock, the only thing, of course, he was convicted of was taking the picture with the dead, right, ISIS fighter?


COATES: Only about four months, he's already served six months, right?

JACKSON: And that -- yes, he already served six months, indeed. And the fact of the matter is, is that the defense even -- what they did was they conceded that charge. So the only thing he was convicted of was something that the defense essentially said he did this, and so shocker by all means.

COATES: So Joey, this idea that the medic coming in saying it wasn't him, it was me. He had immunity.

JACKSON: He did, right. And so immunity means that you can testify. But here is the issue on immunity. When you come in and you have immunity, you could say everything and you can't be prosecuted, but you can't lie. And so now, prosecutors are determining whether or not to charge him with perjury to the extent that they are saying that's not true. But, you know, at the end of the day, seven people were on that jury, right, five marines, two Navy personnel.

And they decided, based upon all the facts and evidence, that he was guilty of one thing. He served his time. He goes home. They're still deliberating whether or not they can take him down a rank or so. But at the end of the day, when go from facing life in prison to actually having served the 200 something days, which amounts to, you know, a number of months. But he faces four months. He'll be out of there.

COATES: Joey Jackson, the perfect person to break this down as always. We'll be right back. But first, here is a look at the brand new CNN original series, The Movies, from the first silent film to the current blockbusters of today. The history of American cinema is sometimes beautiful, occasionally controversial, but always inspiring.

Tune in this Sunday night at 9:00 and delve into the stories behind the movies that you love.


COATES: The sport of boxing helped this week's CNN Hero come to terms with his own anger. Now, he's using boxing as a hope to get kids (Inaudible) Chicago's most violent neighborhoods into the door. Once they're under his wing, he gives them a safe space to grow and the unconditional acceptance -- support that they need to pave the way for a brighter future. Meet Jamil Cannon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Let's work. We're using this sport to teach kids how to fight for their own success. Hands up. I want them to learn how to apply all the positive aspects of boxing, the self control and the discipline, the focus, and walk around with those principles everyday. This is your homework for today. Check it out.

When we give them support that they need, they learn that they are capable and the sky is the limit. And I can't wait for people to see just how powerful our kids are.


COATES: To see how Jamil is changing the lives of kids in Chicago, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. President Trump wanted tanks and troops for the Fourth of July and now he has got.