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NEW DAY SUNDAY
More Than 90 Million People at Risk of Blistering Heat; WaPo: Aides Had to Explain to Trump Why Tweets Were Racist; Trump Working with Swedish PM to Free Grammy-Nominated Rapper; Young Couple Found Murdered on Side of Remote Canadian Highway; Hundreds of Bones Unearthed in Search for Missing Teenager; Trump Attacks Congresswomen Again Despite Denouncing Racist Chant; Multinational Crew Docks at Space Station on Apollo Anniversary. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired July 21, 2019 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:29] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The detention of an American rapper in Sweden amid assault accusations now has the direct involvement of President Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump tweeting he called Sweden's prime minister and offered to personally vouch for his bail, despite the Scandinavian country not having a bail system.
SEN. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): There is an elevated safety issue that we now have, thanks to the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ocasio-Cortez said this White House rhetoric about immigration is not about immigration at all.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: This president is actually serious about security, then he'll stop acting and using the words of white supremacists.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From New Mexico to New England, nearly 200 million people are sweating it out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Disgustingly hot. I'm melting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting too old for this heat.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Glad to be with you this Sunday.
A deadly heat wave is gripping much of the country. From the Great Plains to the East Coast, people are being warned to take this dangerous heat seriously. And at least one person has died because of the heat.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: More than 500 cooling centers up and running this morning in New York. A new record high temperature was set at JFK airport, 99 degrees.
BLACKWELL: And thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are waking up in Michigan without power after the thunderstorms downed some trees and power lines across the state.
PAUL: And check this out, the heat is so intense in Iowa, asphalt roads are literally exploding.
Allison Chinchar is with us.
So, I know a lot of people are saying, this is day two, day three for some people. When does it stop?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: For some, today will be the last day. For others, you'll have to wait at least two more days before you finally see some relief. We're talking about afternoon high temperatures that are incredibly hot across the northeast. Boston being one of to those cities.
But it's not just the afternoon highs. We're also looking at the overnight lows because in a lot of cases, they're not dropping below 80 degrees, which is hard on your body. Saturday morning Boston did not dip below 80. They're still hovering around the 80, 82-degree mark. They're not likely to fall anymore, the sun is out now.
If that is the case, if that officially goes down as the low temperature this morning, this will be the first time in history that Boston has had more than one day where they didn't get to that in the course of a year. And again, the heat will continue even into this afternoon. Not just for the Northeast but the mid-Atlantic, portions of the Ohio and Mississippi valley are under these excessive heat warnings and heat advisories today.
The thing about this heat wave, it's not just the temperature, it's also factoring in the humidity or giving you the feels-like temperature which is expected to be around 110 today for places like Richmond, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York getting awfully close as well. Boston looking at a feels-like temperature close to triple digits today.
But for a city like Boston, today will be the last day. Same thing for New York. It's D.C. where you're likely to have one extra day.
But, Victor and Christi, once that front slides through, cooler air will be behind it but you have severe storms behind it you'll have to keep an eye on.
BLACKWELL: A lot to watch out for.
Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.
PAUL: The tweet implying that congresswomen, American citizens, should go back to their own country, and then it progressed to a rally with shouts of send her back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CROWD: Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Omar --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And each time the president seemed to walk back the racist statements, he then doubled down.
BLACKWELL: According to "The Washington Post," White House aides had to tell the president why the tweets were problematic. They say he acted alone and sending them based on his instinct that the sentiment would play well politically.
Joining us now to discuss, CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."
Brian, the president has been trying to sell this week that, oh, I don't know if they're good for me politically, I don't care, but from the reporting, that's exactly the point of all of this.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. A painful week for America, but a week that President Trump might think was politically advantageous for him.
[07:05:02] This "Washington Post" reporting on the front page today really rebuts the idea that the president has a grand strategy when he tweets out really shocking or hateful messages, in this case, racist comments about these congresswomen. The story made clear that he just did this spontaneously, he didn't consult with lots of other people before doing it, he didn't have a grand plan or vision. He just tweeted.
According to the story, Kellyanne Conway tried to intervene later in the day and explain why this was going to be such a problem. According to the story, many GOP donors were concerned and as we know, GOP senators were also concerned. But, oftentimes the concern, the worries among Republicans are expressed so privately, they don't happen in public. As a result, only later when we see this reporting that it becomes more clear what actually happened.
The story describes a meeting -- the weekly GOP lunch among senators where Mitch McConnell said he decided to quote the late Supreme Court justice, Antonin Scalia, saying, I don't attack people, I attack ideas. McConnell basically in his gentle ways suggesting that's what Trump should be doing, attack the ideas of the congresswomen, not their identities.
Of course, that's what Trump decided not to do. He's been going after their identities. He's been trying to reverse himself and flip- flopped and flip-flopped again. And, frankly, I think it leads people back in their corners, because you can believe whatever you want about the president's original tweets, even though we all know what he actually wrote.
PAUL: At least people in their corners -- well, some people, we should say, because it seems that Geraldo Rivera is taking a stand that we -- he's really looking at this from a viewpoint that maybe he hasn't looked through it before.
STELTER: Yes, this is very interesting. This is from this morning's "New York Times," this is the Fox correspondent Geraldo Rivera who has been a friend of the president for decades and says he's re-evaluating the president after the tweets, the send her back chants of the rally. Here's what Geraldo told "The New York Times": As much as I've denied it, and I averted my eyes from it, this latest incident made it impossible. My friendship with the president has cost me friendships, it has cost me schisms in my family. My wife and I are constantly at odds about the president. I do insist he's been treated unfairly but the unmistakable words, the literal words he said is the indication that the critics were much more right than I.
So, Geraldo Rivera there, a Fox star, saying, yes, the president may have these racist intents, racist beliefs that in the past he hasn't wanted to believe we're actually there. Geraldo was on "The Apprentice" with Trump. They've gone way back.
And Fox, of course, has been a home for the president, especially this week with the pro-Trump hosts trying to defend Trump's words, saying it wasn't racist, he doesn't have a racist bone in his body, but Geraldo Rivera taking a different position saying he's re-evaluating Trump as a result. I think only time and polling will tell us if that's a common sentiment or the exception to the rule this week.
BLCKWELL: Yes, if this hardens people in places they were already, much like after Charlottesville.
Brian Stelter, thanks so much.
STELTER: All right. Thanks.
BLACKWELL: And be sure to watch his show today, "RELIABLE SOURCES" on at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
PAUL: So, hundreds of bones have been unearthed from under a Vatican floor, as police search for a teenager who disappeared more than 35 years ago.
BLACKWELL: Plus, is President Trump trying to put his thumb on the scales of justice in Sweden? Coming up, his efforts to get rapper A$AP Rocky out of jail.
PAUL: And we just got the radio exchange between Iranian and British officials moments before that British-flagged oil tanker was seized. We'll have more when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you obey, you will be safe. If you obey, you will safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[07:12:02] UINDENTIFIED MALE: If you obey, you will be safe. If you obey, you will be safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I reiterate that as you are conducting transit passage in a recognized international strait. Under international law, your passage must not be impaired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No challenge is intended. No challenge is intended. I want to inspect the ship for security reason, over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: That was the radio exchange between a Royal Navy ship and Iranian armed forces vessel moments before a British-flagged tanker was seized. Now, look at this video, you see men wearing masks on board. This is the first video of the moment the Stena Impero was seized.
PAUL: Iran says all 23 crew members on board the ship are safe, they're healthy and, quote, on their own vessel right now.
BLACKWELL: President Trump is negotiating directly with Sweden's prime minister in an effort to free an imprisoned American.
PAUL: Grammy-nominated rapper A$AP Rocky has been held a week after a street fight in Stockholm. And now, President Trump is personally intervening to win back his freedom.
CNN's David Culver reports.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONENT (VOIC-OVER): With all the pressing matters U.S. President Donald Trump has on his foreign policy agenda, including rising tensions with Iran and North Korea, he's also using his political sway for this --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The situation in Sweden --
CULVER: The situation in Sweden that the president refers to involves jailed American rapper and music producer, Rakim Mayers, who goes by A$AP Rocky.
TRUMP: I personally don't know A$AP Rocky but he has tremendous support from the African-American community in this country.
CULVER: A$AP's more than 1 million Instagram followers have not heard from him for three weeks now. The Grammy-nominated artist is in custody in Stockholm. Swedish authorities detained him on suspicion of assault in connection with a brawl on June 30th.
This edited video, posted by TMZ, appears to show A$AP in a confrontation in June, but additional edited videos uploaded onto A$AP's Instagram paint a different story.
A$AP ROCKY, MUSICIAN: Look, just for the shamers, you we don't want no problem with these boys. They keep following us.
CULVER: A$AP telling his fans that these men kept following him and harassing him and his entourage, even alleging they threw headphones at his bodyguard. The Stockholm district court decided Friday that A$AP Rocky should stay in custody until July 25th as the prosecutor continues to investigate, claiming that he is a flight risk. The rapper's lawyer says the court's decision was expected but unfair, according to a report from "Reuters". The lawyer says his client, quote, believes he was assaulted and has acted in self-defense.
President Trump tweeting Saturday that he called Sweden's prime minister and told him that A$AP, quote, was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, despite the Scandinavian country not having a bail system.
It's earned some celebrities praising. Kim Kardashian thanking Trump for helping A$AP and his commitment to justice reform. Singer Justin Bieber weighing in too, tweeting to the president: I appreciate you trying to help him. While you're at it, can you also let those kids out of cages? A reference to the migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
As for how Sweden's leader is responding, through a spokesman, the prime minister acknowledged he spoke with President Trump. He characterized it as a friendly and respectful 20-minute phone call Saturday, but telling the president that his government neither can nor will try to influence the judicial process with respect to A$AP Rocky's case. Both sides say they will likely talk further on the matter in coming days.
David Culver, CNN, London.
PAUL: Thank you to David there.
April Ryan, a CNN political analyst and White House correspondent from Urban Radio Networks is with us now.
April, so good to see you this morning.
Why do you think this has --
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi.
PAUL: -- has become part of president Trump's M.O., I guess, this week? I mean, is it elevated because you have Kanye West and some of these celebrities involved? I think a lot of people are saying, it's a lot of effort being put into this.
RYAN: Yes, Christi, there is a lot of effort being put into this. This president has been all over the place racially this week. A$AP Rocky is a black man, but he is an American that is overseas. So, that is something that U.S. governments deal with when there are Americans that are overseas that are in trouble.
But at this level, at --
PAUL: You mean the level for the president to get involved, is that what you mean?
RYAN: For the president of the United States to call to try to influence what's happening over in Stockholm and the leader in Stockholm -- the leader in Sweden said, look, our justice department is independent of our government, something that the president probably was like, wow. He didn't realize. As he tries to influence what's happening over here. I digress.
But going back to the issue, you know, for him to reach out to Kanye West, I'm looking at Kanye West as a kitchen cabinet member. And kitchen cabinet members are real. We've had them over the years.
Kitchen cabinet members for the president are people who are not within the administration, but influence the president, talk to him, advise him. So, apparently, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are now kitchen cabinet members of the president.
But you know who got it right? Justin Bieber. I never thought I'd say that. Justin Bieber --
PAUL: I know, it takes a minute. It's all right.
RYAN: It's hot. It's hot here.
Justin Bieber to say, okay, thank you for this, but there are other issues, humanitarian issues that need your issue, Mr. President. He's absolutely right. When it comes to these children and these families who are living in inhumane conditions, who cross the border illegally. So, there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, but I do believe the overarching piece is the president is pushing this to try to divert attention from the squad --
PAUL: So, I have to get this in because we're running out of time. This is what I wanted to ask you about.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there is now a Republican Jamaican immigrant from Queens who is challenging her seat in the House.
PAUL: This tweet from Scherie Murray who said: I was hopeful when AOC won. She took on a Democratic political machine and won. But nothing has changed since. Why? Because she's only been focused on fame and politics of division and hates. We deserve and expect better. That's why I'm running. Join us.
She asserts AOC has a job-killing agenda she's on a self-promotion campaign.
Is AOC vulnerable here?
RYAN: AOC is vulnerable and so is Mitch McConnell. So, let's not just put it on AOC. AOC is in the hot seat and so is Mitch McConnell for enabling the president of the United States.
AOC is in trouble because, yes, Amazon, those jobs. And there are people who said, you know, we needed those 25,000 jobs, but you also have the situation right now where she is the target. She's one of the targets of the president of the United States.
She is a rock star, a political rock star. The Democrats are kind of frustrated with the squad right now because they are taking attention away from what they feel is a winning agenda to defeat the president in 2020.
[07:20:03] PAUL: Right.
RYAN: AOC is vulnerable, but the issue is, activism versus legislation. AOC is viewed still as an activist versus someone who is legislating.
RYAN: So, that's part of the problem. She's got to pull it together so she can defeat this candidate, this Republican candidate, this Jamaican born Republican candidate.
PAUL: All right. April Ryan, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, ma'am.
RYAN: Thank you, Christi.
BLACKWELL: An anonymous tip has led to hundreds of bones being unearthed underneath a Vatican cemetery.
CNN's Barbie Nadeau is in Rome with the latest.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right. We've got a mysterious development in an age old case involving a missing girl and the pope and a Vatican cemetery.
PAUL: Twenty-four minutes past the hour. According to a CNN affiliate, officials in Canada are ramping up their investigation into the mysterious murders of an American and her Australian boyfriend.
BLACKWELL: They say almost 30 detectives are now involved searching for the person who killed Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler.
CNN's Natasha Chen has more.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lucas Fowler was an Australian working and living in British Columbia at the moment when his girlfriend Chynna Deese from North Carolina came to visit him. They were going to travel through the area.
[07:25:00] But the two were found dead on the morning of July 15th in the side of the Alaska Highway in the northern part of British Columbia. A 1986 blue Chevrolet van was found on the scene with Alberta plates.
One of our affiliates, WSOC, in Charlotte, North Carolina, spoke to Deese's mother. The station reported the two were found shot to death.
I did check with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about that, a sergeant there says they are not releasing specifics of how the two people died or where on the scene exactly they were located, whether inside or outside the van.
The police did say however that the double homicide happened some time between Sunday evening and Monday morning.
Deese's mother told WSOC that her daughter and Fowler were planning to travel by van through Canada to look out the national parks and they mapped out their route. She believes the van broke down when this incident happened. The one thing she is holding onto is how much her daughter loved Fowler.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a love story. Southern girl goes out of the country and meets this Australian and they were the same personality. Like my son said, it was like two butterflies that found each other. And they were going to be forever.
CHEN: Fowler's family in Australia released this statement: We have lost our Dear Lucas Fowler, son, brother, grandson and friend in the most terrible of circumstances. To lose someone so young and vibrant who was traveling the world and enjoying it to the full is devastating. To know his beautiful girlfriend, Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, also lost her life in this violent event is too cruel event. All our love and best wishes go to Chynna's family and friends. We're all now traveling to Canada to be with our boy and to bring him home.
Fowler's father is a chief inspector for the New South Wales police force in Australia. Other officers are also going to Canada, but they say they are there to support the Fowler family and the Australian officers are not actually participating in this investigation.
RCNP is however working with the FBI in the United States. Investigators are trying to figure out whether Deese and Fowler were driving the van when this happened and they're also trying to determine if they were targeted or if this was a crime of opportunity. Police say that there is no link right now to other crimes in that area of the province and there's no evidence of any heightened risk to public safety at this time.
Back to you.
BLACKWELL: Natasha Chen, thank you.
Let's go to Vatican City where hundreds of bones have been discovered under the floor of a cemetery there. Officials made this discovery yesterday.
PAUL: The Vatican officials have been searching for the teenage daughter of an employee who disappeared 36 years ago.
CNN contributor Barbie Nadeau joins live from Rome.
Barbie, good to see you. What are you learning right now?
NADEAU: Well, you know, the most important thing here is it's a development after over three decades of a crime -- a missing persons crime that has captivated this country with conspiracy theories, with allegations that the Vatican has somehow been involved in the abduction of this young girl. The question, whether or not she's still alive.
And, you know, the brother, Pietro Orlandi, is the one who has able to get the pope's attention, get the Vatican to finally agree to open up this grave. Let's listen a little bit to what he had to say to us.
NADEAU (voice-over): The forensic teams ventured beneath the old floors of the Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery in search for new answers on Saturday. A new investigation into the search for Emanuela Orlandi, a 15-year-old who mysteriously went missing 36 years ago led officials into two underground tombs where they unearthed hundreds of bones for examination.
The latest tombs are adjacent to two others that were searched last week. The Tomb of the Angel pointed to the tombs of two 19th century German princesses. When the tombs were opened, no traces of human remains could be found. The reason, explained by the Vatican, was that the princess' remains may have been transferred in the construction in the '60s and '70s.
Orlandi's brother, Pietro, who has been present through every step of the investigation, said it's his duty to look for her. The children of a Vatican clerk, the two of them used to run in the garden as, though, it was their playground. Nearby lies the cemetery that may told the painful answers to his lifelong search.
Pietro told CNN to think if she was buried in the ossuary all these years just 200 meters from our house, it would be devastating. His sister's disappearance sparked conspiracy theories that included everything from Italian mobsters and international terrorists to the highest powers at the Vatican. No evidence has been found to support any of the rumors. The Orlandi family has met with the last three popes, but this
investigation is the first time the Vatican has allowed such a search on their property. The new cooperation from the Vatican has given the family faith that they're not alone in their search for answers. While the recently unearthed bones cannot be considered evidence yet, further studies next week will help steer the direction for everyone involved in this puzzling mystery.
[07:30:11] NADEAU: And, you know, the most important thing is this does not necessarily close the case, but for the family, it's really opening it up for the first time.
PAUL: Barbie Nadeau, live for us in Rome, thank you so much.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The impact of President Trump's fight with four Democratic congresswomen may be felt for years to come.
Coming up, the author of "How Fascism Works" explains why he says this week, he saw the face of evil.
BLACKWELL: The past week may be remembered as a defining moment in the Trump presidency. Four freshmen Democrats, women of color, found themselves on the receiving end of a racist attack from the president of the United States. The president said they should go back to where they came from, despite three of the congresswomen being born in the U.S., all of them are American citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: And then that happened on Wednesday, the crowd at the president's rally in North Carolina echoed his message chanting, as you heard, send her back. After attempting to walk-back his comments, the president doubled down, calling the audience incredible patriots and refusing to apologize for that tweet that started it all.
[07:35:00] Joining me now is Yale philosophy professor, Jason Stanley. He's the author of the book "How Fascism Works."
Jason, good morning to you, and thank you for being with us.
JASON STANLEY, AUTHOR, "HOW FASCISM WORKS": Thank you very much for having me on.
BLACKWELL: So, after that rally in North Carolina, you tweeted this out, I am not easily shocked but we are facing an emergency. Journalists must not get away with sugar-coating this. This is the face of evil. The face of evil, that is a stark assessment. Why do you believe
STANLEY: I believe that because I think this is doing irreparable harm to our liberal democratic culture. Liberal democracy is based upon the equal respect and dignity for all human being, a concept derived in part from the Christian faith, and freedom, the concept of freedom. And, fascism, by contrast, is based on the vilification of outsiders conceived as a foreigners ruining your culture who are poisoning things.
And what we saw there in that rally was one of the most anti- democratic moments I've ever witnessed. It seems like the president's politics are based around this concept of a real American, where a real American is defined ethnically. After all, the assumption of send them back and go back is that non-whites are not really at home in America, their real home is elsewhere; and loyalty to him, which is authoritarianism.
BLACKWELL: So, you are the author of "How Fascism Works", and after this week, Representative Omar called the president a fascist. Some of the president's supporters, they pushed back hard against that.
Do you believe that is an accurate assessment of the president, that he is a fascist?
STANLEY: I don't care about what the president is in his heart. I care about the damage -- the kind of politics he's practicing. And if you look at the rally, that rally evokes fascist rallies.
We've had those rallies before in the United States, in the 1930s, we had one in February 1939 in Madison Square Garden. This kind of rhythmic hate chanting against people regard as traitors is deeply worrisome. That rally could be characterized as a fascist rally.
Now, what the president himself believes is not something I know. But what I care about is the long-term damage this kind of politics is doing to our deputy ethos.
BLACKWELL: I want you to listen to something former President Obama said. This was September 2018 in the run-up to the midterm elections in which he talks about President Trump's use of fear and resentment as he frames it.
Here's what the president said at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It did not start with Donald Trump. He is a symptom, not the cause. He's just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years. A fear and anger that's rooted in our past, but it's also borne out of the enormous upheavals that have taken place in your brief lifetimes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: What do you make of that, that he is a symptom not a cause of what we're seeing?
STANLEY: He is a symptom and not a cause. I mean, take the Islamophobia that we're experiencing, which is deeply worrisome. The president has been retweeting some very toxic Islamophobic people like Katie Hopkins. This derives from the subsequent -- the torture regime, frankly, of the Bush administration.
We also have these deep-seated roots in American history. I mean, this -- the anti-immigration politics that is at the center of European fascism, Hitler credited that to the 1924 Immigration Act of the United States. Hitler says in "Mein Kampf" that the United States is trying to create with its immigration policies a pure -- racially pure country.
So, we have this long history of features of our country that affected European fascism. The Ku Klux Klan's ideology is not that distant at all from German fascism. It's the idea that these elites are taking in non-whites and encouraging non-whites to equality to ruin America.
BLACKWELL: Well, the president has spoken about this and has been asked about it every day since he sent that tweet out. We'll see if this is one of those moments, like the others, after Charlottesville that stand out but have no political consequence for the president, or if this is different in some way what we saw this week.
Jason Stanley, so good to have you this week. Thank you.
STANLEY: Thank you very much.
PAUL: And in light of all this, the president's attacks on four progressive congresswomen of color, "The New York Times" asked readers to share their own stories and experiences of being told to go back to where they came from. The response was really overwhelming. Tens of thousands of submissions poured in.
[07:40:02] And I want you to read a couple of these with me here. Whitney Lee, for instance, lives in Washington and here's what she writes.
She says: I've been told to go back to Africa repeatedly. At this point, I don't really feel anything about it because I'm accustomed to people's ignorance. I'm a black American. My family has been here since the 1600s. I usually respond with that fact and people get uncomfortable. The funny thing is that one my nonblack ancestors is actually Robert E. Lee.
Chevara Orrin from Fort Lauderdale, Florida recalls this incident. She says: I am a black woman of biracial ancestry. My mother is a white Jewish woman and my father is black. My facial characteristics are racially ambiguous, and I'm often misidentified as Latina, specifically Puerto Rican, Dominican or Cuban.
Several months ago, at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, an older white man approached me as I pumped into my car. "How many houses did you clean to buy that convertible?" he yelled. Startled, scared and angry I chose to ignore him because, well, it's a conceal carry state. As I attempted to quickly place the nozzle back onto the pump station, he walked closer to me and with venom in his voice said, you should take your ass back to Mexico.
Keian Razipour in Los Angeles wrote: I've been called a terrorist and Osama bin Laden's son. I've been told to go on my jihad. I've been called a member of al Qaeda and Taliban.
These all came during high school. I was born here yet others told me I didn't belong. I always try to shrug off the comments. At times, I'd even try to educate the people who called me these names to tell them why it's incorrect to categorize me as that.
I'm a first generation American and my parents emigrated to the United States from Iran in 1970s.
And then you have readers wrote in saying that they were the ones who had yelled "go back" to someone and they regret it now.
For instance, Matthew Sunderland from Joshua Tree, California wrote this: Several years ago, a guy cut me off in a parking lot. That escalated into yelling out of windows, and to my utter shame, I yelled for this Arab-looking man to go back home. I was ashamed them and more so now and have never repeated this epithet.
But to say this is not who we are as Americans is not entirely true. This is who we are on our worst day. I would give a lot to be able to apologize to this man.
We'll be right back.
[07:46:06] PAUL: I don't know about you, but I love getting lost in a good movie.
So, we have an all new episode of the CNN series "THE MOVIES" exploring American cinemas through the decades that showcases the biggest Hollywood stars and some of the most pivotal movies in those films we remember.
BLACKWELL: This episode, we're focusing on films from the 2000s.
Tom Foreman has a look.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new millennium started with an explosion of stars, big names writing big box office returns.
NEAL GABLER, FILM HISTORIAN: Stars become for a while the most dependable element in movies, which is why their salaries go up and also changes the whole context of movies, because the power balance in movies change. And by changing balance is changes the kind of movies we go to, ones that ultimately centralize the star.
FOREMAN: The superstars made potentially mediocre scripts into hits and forgettable ones much more memorable.
TODD BOYD, PROFESSOR OF MEDIA STUDIES, USC: "Training Day" is an otherwise small film without Denzel's presence.
FOREMAN: And all that made the studios happy, especially as they started building on that. Film series were soon everywhere, from "The Fast and Furious" to Transformers, to the Bourne movies, to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The senior executives are saying, that's the direction that we want to go. They're not looking for a single project. They want the next franchise.
FOREMAN: Some franchises were themselves the star attractions. "The Lord of the Rings", for example, and the story of a magical boy.
DANA STEVENS, FILM CRITIC: The Harry Potter film franchise like the Harry Potter book franchise was just something that really defined a generation.
FOREMAN: But nothing rivaled the success of the Marvel films.
GABLER: Marvel is arguably the biggest star in the history of movies.
FOREMAN: With one hit after another, they brought in young and old fans alike.
JACQUELINE COLEY, EDITOR, ROTTEN TOMATOES: My uncle and aunt, who I don't think have been to the movie theater in 20 years were like, we're going.
FOREMAN: Simply put, the new century began with the stars aligned.
For many movie fans, it's been a blast.
BLACKWELL: The CNN original series "THE MOVIES" premieres tonight, the new episode, at 9:00 p.m., only on CNN.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the 50th anniversary of Tranquility Base, a multinational crew, has pulled into port at the International Space Station.
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BLACKWELL: Yes, 50 years after the Americans walked on the moon, the team included an astronaut from the U.S. and one from European space agency, along with a Russian cosmonaut.
PAUL: The expedition is going to last until October 2nd.
BLACKWELL: Last night, Washington celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. This is fantastic. At the National Air and Space Museum, an astronaut's boot dropped at the exact moment that Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.
And look at this. The film projection of the mission on the Washington Monument from liftoff to splashdown.
Now, in Houston -- I would love to stay on this shot more. But in Houston, there was the concert by band walk the moon, fireworks, marking Armstrong's steps. Just fantastic.
The treatment of this all day long was beautiful from start to finish.
PAUL: And it really does give momentum to what else can they do?
[07:50:02] BLACKWELL: They want to go back to the moon by 2024.
PAUL: Yes, absolutely.
So, what are you doing this weekend to help make the world a better place? We're going to show you how a fashionable 12-year-old boy is making sure homeless pets find their forever home.
PAUL: What started out as a sister teaching her brother a new school has turned into a passion project for a young animal lover. Two years ago, Darius Brown started donating bow ties that he designs and makes to dog shelters, to help rescue dogs find a home.
I spoke to him and his sister, Dazhai Brown-Shearz, about what he calls his paw-some mission.
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DAZHAI BROWN-SHEARZ, DARIUS' SISTER: Darius always watched the ASPCA commercials on television. And then he found out that they were being transported from, like, Texas and moved over to New York City.
[07:55:02] And Darius said, well, if I can discover a way to make these bow ties that are for humans fit on the collar of an animal, would I able to donate some of them to help them get adopted faster, their adoption process.
DARIUS BROWN, FOUNDER, BEAUX & PAWNS: My hope is I will help the dogs look noticed and more fashionable so I could help them get adopted faster and find a safe, loving, forever home. I believe that I have rescued over 200 dogs.
PAUL: So, you have donated at least that many then to shelters?
BROWN-SHEARZ: Yes. Darius has now I think over the 300-mark.
PAUL: I understand that President Obama sent you a letter during what was a very difficult time of your life. BROWN-SHEARZ: Darius was going through a hard time because he was
about to give up on doing the bow ties. President Barack Obama was saying that, Darius, what you are doing is so impactful for the community and we need more people like him
PAUL: And, Darius, I know you sewed and created the bow time you're wearing now.
PAUL: It's quite handsome.
BROWN: Thank you.
PAUL: I want to know what your plans are for the future?
BROWN: Well, my goals for the future is to have my own clothing line such as blazers, vests, bow ties, shoes, shirts, everything. And I just hope that my -- I can expand my business into an empire.
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PAUL: Darius is raising money for his business, too, hoping the dogs will get noticed more at the shelter. So you can find all the details, sirdariusbrown.com.
BLACKWELL: He's doing good work.
PAUL: Yes, he is.
Thank you so much for sharing time with us.
Good luck to him and his sister. And we hope you make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" is up after a quick break.