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President Trump Uses His Power to Demean People; Sorry is Not in Trump's Vocabulary; De'Von Bailey's Family Wants Independent Investigation; Peter Fonda, Star of "Easy Rider," Dies at 79; CNN Hero Roger Montoya. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired August 16, 2019 - 23:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Laura Coates in for Don Lemon.

You know, President Trump is doubling down tonight on his feud with Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib after he urged Israel to ban her and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, which they did.

Now, Israel later agreed to let Congresswoman Tlaib visit her 90-year- old grandmother in the West Bank, but only if she agreed not to promote boycotts of Israel during her trip.

Now after initially agreeing to their restrictions Tlaib cancelled her trip, calling the conditions oppressive. And that prompted a tweet storm from the president.

Quote, "Israel was very disrespect - was very respectful and nice to Representative Rashida Tlaib allowing her permission to visit her grandmother. As soon as she was granted permission, she grandstanded and loudly proclaimed that she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup? Israel acted appropriately."

And as if that weren't bad enough, the president went on to add a real below-the-belt insult saying, "the only real winner here is Tlaib's grandmother, she doesn't have to see her now."

Now insults like that are beneath the Office of the President. And to be displaying all of this on the world stage just makes matters worse. But will the president continue his policy of governing by grievance with 2020 looming?

Here to talk about all that and more is Asha Ranggapa, Toluse Olorunnipa, and Alice Stewart. Hello to all of you on a Friday night. I'm glad to have this particular panel.

And Toluse, you wrote a really fascinating piece about the president governing by grievance, as you call it and I want to get to all the examples that you list out in that article.

But first, I've got to begin with the president encouraging the banning of two congresswomen from entering Israel. Please explain to us how this - this is a prime example of the president governing by grievance.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. We normally do not expect an American president to side with a foreign ally to bar the entry of U.S. members of Congress. Normally you'd expect the president to be fighting on behalf of the U.S. citizens, the U.S. lawmakers to go wherever they want to.

But in this case, the president has a feud with members of the so- called squad, the people he's trying to elevate for domestic political purposes. And in this instance, the Israeli government was ready to let them in, they said less than a month ago that they would accept them in as members of Congress out of respect for the Congress but then President Trump got involved, he intervened, he put public and private pressure on the Israeli government and then they reversed course.

So, this is an instance where the president is using the powers of his office, the powers of the bully pulpit to exact to revenge, to exact, to take out vendettas against people he believed are his political enemies.

We've seen it happen on multiple occasions but this is just the latest incident of the president attacking freshman members of Congress and making them unable to visit Israel, in part because he decided that he wanted to punish them for comments that they've made not only about Israel but comments that they've made negatively about him personally.

COATES: Well, Alice, I want to bring you in here. Because the president's tweet, Representative Tlaib's grandmother, I mean, you have to admit, it's frankly it's downright nasty. So, I got to ask, what policy interests are served by attacking the relationship between a woman and her grandmother? Any explanation for us?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The policy that he is trying to shine the light on is something that I support, America's relationship with Israel, and his commitment to continuing to make that very strong. He has been very committed to Israel by moving the embassy to Jerusalem and that is a big issue with his base.

And so, by engaging with Congresswoman Tlaib and the squad in general, he is doing two things, twofold, he is signaling to the base that look, I have Israel's back, they are a great ally, and I will support them.

This is his way by attacking these congresswomen who have made comments that are disparaging to Israel and in my view, are anti- Semitic.

And the other way he is also doing this for political reason, he is painting the squad as the face of the Democratic Party and a lot of their anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, anti-Jewish comments as the face of the Democratic Party. So, in his mind, this is a way to kill two political birds with one stone. And yes --

(CROSSTALK) [23:04:59] COATES: But the problem with that, Alice -- I got to cut you off for a second -- because the problem with that is the way you're compartmentalizing and talking about these issues of policy and perceived anti-Semitism that you're articulating here, is there some reason why there has to be, one, the distraction, two, the fixation and, three, the insult to her grandmother and their relationship. Doesn't that derail the actual things you're talking about?

STEWART: It does. But look, this is his style. He governs by grievance just as he conducted business by bullying. And I'm a strong believer and you can flex your muscle without punching someone in the face.

This president doesn't agree with that philosophy. This is how he has always conducted business. This is how he is running the White House. This is how we will continue to do so.

And in his mind if it is not broke, don't fix it. And he will continue to do this. I don't see this being harmful to him in the 2020 reelection because this is how he has operated to this point and he will continue to do so.

COATES: Well, the thing about the country is that it should last past 2020. And Asha, the notion here of this word of diplomacy or the idea of the relationship between Israel and the United States and his actions and antics. Are we going to see a lasting impact beyond how it might impact the president of the United States? Will there be a lasting impact here on diplomacy?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he's definitely tramping norms, Laura. Look, governing by grievance is just a dumb way to govern. It creates both legal liability and national security liability.

So, you know, if you look at the examples that Toluse listed in his article, there are a lot of things that the president can do that are within his power but if he does them for the wrong reasons, if he does them for his own vendettas or for personal gain, they can become a crime.

This is the heart of the Mueller report. This is what obstruction of justice is about in all those instances that are laid out. And when he goes to the world stage, he has much more latitude to operate but that is precisely where you don't want to advertise to other countries how fragile your ego is and how it can be manipulated for their own, you know, the other countries national interest.

You know, you can fight in your family but when it comes to other people, you tell them to butt out. And what the president is basically signaling is that he's willing to air his dirty laundry and also let other countries interfere if he believes that it benefits him, even if it's not in the best interests of the country or if it undermines our institutions like the Congress.

COATES: And Toluse, in your article you talked about the notion because all these examples that are happening. Earlier this year Trump denies Speaker Pelosi access to a military plane that she was trying to take to visit troops in Afghanistan.

In a letter, he wrote, saying, "Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative."

You also have instances where the president of the United States has gone after people like Hillary Clinton, and as Asha talked about, the notion of the Mueller report, saying that he even tried to get the entire Department of Justice to investigate. Is this an issue where this pattern now will be the practice and this pattern is here to stay?

OLORUNNIPA: We have seen this president get more comfortable with the powers that he has as the commander in chief, as the president, as the leader of the executive branch over the first two and a half years in office.

And as time has passed, and especially since the Democrats took control of the House, he has used some of those powers to pursue those vendettas, so sort of show his vindictive side.

And we saw it with his feud with Nancy Pelosi during the government shutdown where he grounded her plane, an unprecedented action for a president, blocking a speaker of the house from being able to go visit U.S. troops.

That was a sign of things to come. The president has been more and more willing to push the boundaries of his powers, to use the Justice Department to go after his political enemies, to pursue these grievances through the vast powers that the American people give to a president by electing him and to use them in ways that have not been used in the past by presidents who have been more prudent with that power.

So, I would expect, especially as we get towards 2020 as the president is sort of thinking about his reelection and thinking about ways to go against his enemies, I would expect him to continue to use his powers, continue to use his executive authorities to explore how far he can go without getting pushback from people within his own party who for the most part have condoned most of his actions. I would expect him to continue to do that.


COATES: You know what that means, Toluse? That means we're going to continue this conversation. Alice, Asha, and Toluse, thank you for your time. I appreciate it. Fascinating article.

STEWART: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: I appreciate your time.

You know, it seems that for this president the right to free speech only applies if you agree with him. What would our found being fathers think of that? I'll make my case next.


COATES: Did you catch this moment from President Trump's campaign rally in New Hampshire last night? A protest broke out in the crowd and a Trump supporter tried to remove the protesters. Let me repeat that. A Trump supporter. That's when the president said this --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: That guy has got a serious weight problem. Go home, start exercising. Get him out of here, please. Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says what the hell have you just done?


COATES: The president clearly thought the man he was insulting was a protester, not one of his own supporters. And, frankly, Donald Trump has long trafficked in that kind of bullying and insults but always aimed at protesters, simply because they disagree with him, even encouraging violence against them.


[23:14:56] TRUMP: Get him out of here. Get him out of here. Go home to your mom, darling. Go home. Get him out of here. Out. Was that a man or a woman because he needs a haircut more than I do. True. Couldn't tell. Couldn't tell. I couldn't tell. Needs a haircut.

If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. OK? Just knock the hell -- I promise you I will pay for the legal fees, I promise. I promise.

Go home to mommy. Bye. Bye. Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court, don't worry about it.


COATES: After last night's rally, after the president fat shamed his own supporters, well, he was briefed on his mistake.

And CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports that he called the man and left a message thanking him for his support. But a White House official said that he did not apologize, making it very clear the president did not even use the word sorry or apologize, God forbid, although that Trump supporter, by the way, seems to have gotten the closest thing to an apology from this president, who actually smoothed things over when he realize that his mistake was that he used his favorite weapon of choice, insults, on someone who was actually on his side.

So, it seems that the right to free speech for this president applies if you agree with him. But things are very different when it comes to people who disagree with the president. Then, then you get punished for exercising your free speech rights.

This week he urged Israel to ban two of his perceived political opponents. Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. And Israel followed suit. It did that after he tweeted last month that those congresswomen and two others should go back to the countries they came from, which would be America because those congresswomen are U.S. citizens.

Then the president stood by while his supporters chanted his own racist words.


TRUMP: Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds.



COATES: The president allowing, encouraging that racist chant. Those words, why? Because the congresswomen have spoken out against him and against his policies and that's something he just cannot tolerate, not being surrounded by yes men and women.

And that brings me to this. The free speech the president cares most about is his own. And we know how much he needs a big crowd there to hear his words. And this week he got one at his energy rally in Pennsylvania.

But let's take a closer look at that speech at a shell plant. It was supposed to be about energy policy, which is an official taxpayer funded event. Instead, it turned into a rambling campaign speech, including joking about calling off the 2020 election.


TRUMP: Have they ever called off an election before? Just said, look, let's go, four more years. Yes. And then you really want to drive them crazy, go to hash tag third term, hash tag fourth term. You'll drive them totally crazy.


COATES: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that shell and its contractors gave the audience full of union workers a choice, the choice of either showing up for the president's speech or taking the day off without pay. The event was classified as a training session.

The workers' attendance wasn't mandatory, it wasn't mandatory, but if they wanted to get paid for that day, they'd have to show up at 7 a.m. and scan their cards, stand for hours with no lunch and listen to a guest speaker, the president of the United States.

Now I'm sure, certain, that a lot of those workers were happy to be there. One local union manager told the Post-Gazette we're glad to have the jobs. And said, anyone who didn't want to show up was free to do so.

[23:19:56] But if you didn't want to be there and you decided to sit out the event, you not only wouldn't get paid that day but you wouldn't qualify for overtime pay today.

One union leader telling the paper losing one day of pay could cost a worker around $700. So, you had a choice not to go as you were willing to forfeit a chunk of your weekly salary.

Is that putting a price on free speech? Free speech, which the President of the United States is supposed to be defending at all costs. Free speech means nothing if you only support it for views that you like.

What is America if not a nation founded, a nation of dissenters? But a true patriot would actually know that.

Joining me now to discuss, Nayyera Haq, former Obama White House senior director. Fabulous to have you on the show and great to see you, Nayyera. You know, Nayyera, the president had all these union workers behind him for what was supposed to be a speech focused on energy policy, and instead, Nayyera, they got this. Take a listen.


TRUMP: I did very well here. We did very well. How many points did we win by? Does anybody know? I'll tell you. I think 28 points. That's a lot. That's against a Democrat. Or whatever. What a group. Pocahontas and sleepy Joe. I don't think they give a damn about Western Pennsylvania.

You know the Academy Awards is on hard times, you know that. Nobody wants to watch it. You know why? Because they started taking us on. And now it's just another show because people got tired of people getting up and making fools of themselves.

This thing is costing me a fortune being president. Every day they sue me for something.


COATES: Nayyera, we don't have time to fact check all the things that are actually demonstrably false there. But ultimately, what I want you to talk about is, did the president do something like a bait and switch with these workers? Is that what happened here, a bait and switch?

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: Absolutely. And the problem is that we've really gotten used to and comfortable with the bait and switch because it's become the norm with Donald Trump. The history of presidential campaigns and the intersection with the Office of the Presidency is that the campaign pays for campaign time.

And when you're going to do something on behalf of taxpayers, for example, talking about infrastructure, we've all been waiting for infrastructure week and that investment that's supposed to come into our roads and bridges and energy grids, that gets paid on the taxpayer dime. When Donald Trump uses taxpayer dollars to do this type of event, he's

not only blurring the lines and undermining all of the ethics, he's fundamentally undermining the democracy and the rules we've all decided that we're going to live by. And unfortunately, it's coming at the expense of hard-working Americans who now are just along for the ride.

COATES: You know, you have great experience in this area, particularly international diplomacy, Nayyera. You're the right person to talk about this. The president went after and used a foreign leader to try to keep congresswomen out of Israel.

Now, Netanyahu defended Israel's ban, probably by comparing it a 2012 decision by the U.S. to deny a visa to a member of the Israeli Knesset. But those are totally different situations. That member he'd also been a member of a far-right group that's now deemed to terrorist organization by both the U.S. and the Israeli government.

So, what's your response to the idea that the president encourages this and Netanyahu's response.

HAQ: We've known Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East. That's our strong ally for defending the values of freedom and freedom of religion and freedom of speech. That's part of why even though Israel had designated this organization as a terrorist organization, because this person was a duly elected representative, they defended him and gave him a seat in their Knesset.

Now U.S. laws are a little stricter than that. If you are a felon, a convicted felon, you can't run for office, let alone vote. But the idea that Donald Trump would actually undermine the freedom of speech of his opposition, and mind you, these -- this is not the only group of people that have argued against restrictions to Israel.

Groups of members of Congress have been going to Israel for years, have seen both sides, multiple sides of the issue. In fact, the same group that was going to bring Rashida Tlaib and Congresswoman Ilhan Omar had brought four men just a couple of weeks earlier.

There seems to be something very personal for Donald Trump with these two members of Congress in particular, and the fact that he encouraged another government to undermine them as representatives really speaks a lot about where we are in the American experiment and where we are with the social contract we've made with our government and where we are is that it's all at risk right now.

COATES: Nayyera Haq, your words, thank you so much for being a part of this show. And of course, it's personal indeed, especially given the context you have given us. Thank you for being a part of the show today.

HAQ: Thank you, Laura.

[23:25:01] COATES: You know, the family of a black teen shot in the back by police is calling for an independent investigation. Why the release of body cam video is raising questions about the death of 19- year-old De'Von Bailey.


COATES: The attorney for the family of a man shot in the back and killed by police in Colorado Springs is calling for an independent investigation. Nineteen-year-old De'Von Bailey was shot and killed as he ran from police responding to a call of an armed robbery on August 3rd. But the body cam videos of the shooting are raising questions about exactly what happened.

CNN's Scott McLean has more, but I must warn you, some of what you're about to see is graphic and disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Colorado Springs 911, what's the location of your emergency?


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On August 3rd, a man in Colorado Springs called 911 to report he had just been robbed by two men at gun point.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the guys started hitting me and I fall down to the ground. And the other guy pulls out a gun and he's like "you better tell me what's in your pockets."


[23:30:06] MCLEAN: Minutes later, not far from the caller's location, a police officer found 19-year-old De'Von Bailey and another man. Newly released body camera video shows what happened next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): So we got a report of two people, similar descriptions, possibly having a gun, all right? So don't reach for your waist. We're going to check to just check and make sure you don't have a weapon, all right?

Hands up! Hands up! Hands up!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get down on the ground.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Bailey was shot three times in the back and once in the arm. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. The county sheriff's office said early on that during the police encounter, one suspect reached for a firearm. At least one officer fired a shot at the suspect.

But a private surveillance tapes showed Bailey running from police before falling to the ground, prompting protests and calls for transparency.

CROWD: Hands up! Don't shoot! Hands up! Don't shoot!

MCLEAN (voice-over): The body camera footage shows a more complete picture.

GREG BAILEY, FATHER OF DE'VON BAILEY: I know everyone says that my son was killed by a white cop, and he's a black man in the community. Yes, those are facts. But that's not what this is about. This is what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong. What's wrong is that my son was shot in the back by law enforcement.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Bailey's family wants an independent investigation. The Colorado Springs Police Department released the body camera footage along with edited versions that made clear that one officer shouted "hands up!" three times before shooting.

But Bailey's hands were not up or even at his sides. They are out of view at his waistband. Almost immediately, police recovered a handgun. Bailey's lawyers don't dispute that, but they say he never reached for it.

MARI NEWMAN, LAWYER FOR FAMILY OF DE'VON BAILEY: As I look at the video, what I see is a young man who is holding his pants as he is running away. He doesn't make any turn. He doesn't ever show a gun.

MCLEAN (voice-over): A 1985 landmark Supreme Court ruling found police cannot shoot a suspect simply to prevent them from getting away, but they can use deadly force if there is an imminent threat to themselves or others.

NEWMAN: What we had is a man who was running away from police. So there was no constitutional imminent threat that justifies executing this young man as he ran away.

MCLEAN (on camera): And you have no hesitation about using that language, the word "execution?"

NEWMAN: I think that's what the video shows.


MCLEAN: The case has now been turned over to the local district attorney's office to determine whether or not there was an imminent threat. The DA's office could either file charges and the case to a grand jury or rule that the shooting was justified.

In the meantime, both of the officers involved are now back on patrol. Laura?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you, Scott. I'll speak with the attorney for the family of De'Von Bailey, who says he has doubts about getting a fair investigation. That's next.

[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: There are questions being raised about the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old De'Von Bailey in Colorado Springs. The answer to those questions may come from the video of the shooting and what it shows about what Bailey was doing with his hands as he was running away.

In order to give the proper context for our discussion, we're going to play the video one last time. But I'll warn you again, it's very difficult to watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Put your hands up. So we got a report of two people, similar descriptions, possibly having a gun, all right? So don't reach for your waist. We're going to just check and make sure you don't have a weapon, all right?

Hands up! Hands up! Hands up!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get your hands up! Get down on the ground.


COATES: Joining me now is Bailey family's attorney, Darold Killmer. Thank you for joining the program. I know you're a colleague and law partners also on this case. This whole situation is extremely tragic for the family. A funeral was actually held for De'Von today. How is his family holding up?

DAROLD KILLMER, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF DE'VON BAILEY: Well, Laura, of course, they're devastated. Today was particularly profound, sad day for them. They did have the funeral. Yesterday, they had the wake. And all the while, they're dealing with Colorado Springs' response to this, which is at a minimum very hurtful to them. Today, Colorado Springs put the police officers involved right back on the streets, presumably with their guns.

COATES: I understand there's a discrepancy between what was phoned into police, the 911 call that led to the confrontation, and what the Bailey family actually says happened. Can you tell us what they say happened here?

KILLMER: Well, the Bailey family knows what happened. The videos have told us exactly what happened. De'Von was running for his life. He turned around and ran as fast as he could away from the officers. That's why we think it's going to be almost impossible for the officers to prove to a jury that they were in imminent fear of death or bodily harm themselves. Anybody who watches that video sees that De'Von is trying to get away as best he can.

COATES: Ultimately, it's going to be decided based on what the D.A. believes De'Von was doing with his hands as he ran away. We looked at the video. What is it that you see? KILLMER: Well, I see a young man trying to get away. But I also predict -- and I am pretty sure I am going to be right on this -- that the district attorney will clear these officers as they do every single time.

[23:40:01] The family is concerned that this is nothing remotely close to a fair investigation or a fair prosecutorial decision. We believe there should be an independent investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and then to turn it over to the Colorado Attorney General's office for a prosecutorial decision.

You can't just hand this over to El Paso County, which is staffed by the same people who have been in the Colorado Springs Police Department and expect to have a fair, trustworthy, legitimate investigation.

COATES: What would that look like? What do you want them to be looking for? How would a legitimate investigation actually look like?

KILLMER: Well, a legitimate investigation would be conducted by people who don't know the police officers involved. Right now, they've turned it over to the El Paso County Sheriff's Department. The undersheriff and the person involved in internal investigations like this are former employees of the Colorado Springs Police Department. The undersheriff was the chief of police as recently as March of this year. So they're handing it right over to their friends and they're going to ask for clearance.

When people die at the hands of the sheriff's department, such as up at the jail, they hand it over to the Colorado Springs Police Department for similar clearance. Hence, we never get any prosecution of any law enforcement killings in Colorado Springs.

COATES: So, what we make of the fact that he actually did ultimately have a gun in his possession?

KILLMER: He did have a gun, although he never had his hand on the gun. The police officers never saw a gun. He was not reaching for a gun. He was holding his pants up as he ran as fast as he could away. The law just doesn't allow police officers to shoot somebody merely because they have a gun. Millions of people carry guns. And even if you're fleeing, that doesn't give officers the right to do that.

Consider this. If you had a concealed carry permit and you had a legal right to carry, that doesn't mean you can shoot -- be shot if you're running away from law enforcement. And you couldn't shoot somebody if they were running away from you. There has to be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to yourself. Basically self-defense but that wasn't the case here.

COATES: We will follow the story. Thank you for your time. Darold Killmer, please extend our condolences to the family. It is difficult all around. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

KILLMER: Thank you, Laura. I will do that. Thanks. COATES: Joining me now to discuss some of the legal issues in this case is CNN legal analyst Areva Martin, who is the author of "Make it Rain." I can't think of a better person to talk about this case.

Areva, you know, police shootings are unfortunately all too common in the U.S. This one in particular has a lot of different factors at play. So what are the things that the D.A. and prosecutors are going to be reviewing this incident, and what do they have to actually consider here?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I think a couple of things, Laura. Obviously, the body cam video is very important in a case like this. Also, we know that there's some surveillance videotape that also may be available to the district attorney's office, in addition to the eyewitness testimony.

Mr. Bailey was with his cousin. His cousin has already given a statement that he never saw De'Von turn around, reach for a gun or to do anything that was suggestive of him threatening the officer. So, his eyewitness testimony is also going to be very critical.

But ultimately, as you know, that Supreme Court case comes down to whether these officers or this officer that shot De'Von believed that he was an imminent threat either to the officer or to anyone in the community.

COATES: That benefit of doubt is going to reign, you know, very large in this and officers often get it. I wonder what will happen in this case. You got to come back, Areva, and follow the story with us. I appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: We'll be right back.


COATES: Actor and director Peter Fonda died today of respiratory failure due to lung cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 79 years old. Fonda rose to fame with his role in "Easy Rider," but he was true Hollywood royalty, the son of legendary actor Henry Fonda and the brother of actress and activist Jane Fonda.

Joining me now to discuss his life and now his legacy are Matt Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, and Douglas Brinkley. I am glad to have you both here at this time. I'll start with you, Douglas. I want to start with a clip from the film "Easy Rider."


PETER FONDA, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR: You ever want to be somebody else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to try Porky Pig.

FONDA: I never wanted to be anybody else. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: "East Rider" was a groundbreaking film when it was released in 1969. Tell us, here we are, 50 years later, what kind of impact did it have on the culture, Doug?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It had a seismic impact. As you just mentioned, 50 years ago, you know, Woodstock meeting "Easy Rider." It was the beginning of popularizing in Hollywood of the counterculture generation. Jack Kerouac had written the novel "On the Road" in the 1950s. In the late 1960s, the motorcycle culture was starting to get a lot of traction.

Dennis Hopper did a big movie called "The Wild Angels" with motorcycles a star. And then by the time he did "Easy Rider," it was the new way to discover that American road. You know, the soundtrack to "Easy Rider" was astounding: Bob Dylan's version, "The Byrds"; "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding); songs like Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild"; The Band's "The Weight."

[23:49:57] And so it became like a soundtrack for that counterculture generation dealing with LSD, marijuana, and the famous "Open Road" that Walt Whitman long ago wrote about.

COATES: Of course, you think about -- there's the song right now, "The Weight" playing right now, "Pulling Into Nazareth." Matt, I got to ask you. Fifty years old. This film had a budget of about $400,000. It went on to gross $60 million. And the movie and the fact, as Doug talks about, had been part of a revolution in Hollywood. I mean, how can that be?

MATTHEW BELLONI, EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: It is pretty amazing. And for the time, it was revolutionary. There are still stories circulating in Hollywood about the shooting of this film and some of the crazy things that went on. They shot in a cemetery in New Orleans without permission.

Peter Fonda did an interview in which he said that they shot in New Orleans without any permission, and they used extras because they figured they could use people for free because they were already in costume for Mardi Gras. I mean things like --


BELLONI: -- that just would never happen today.

COATES: No, I mean, Doug, Jane Fonda put out a statement about her little brother's passing tonight, saying "I'm very sad. He was my sweet-hearted baby brother. The talker of the family. I've had beautiful alone time with him these last days, and he went out laughing."

Peter was part of this acting dynasty, Hollywood royalty. He was part of all of that.


BRINKLEY: Well, you know, yes, absolutely. We are talking just about "Easy Rider," but he had a long career in T.V. and movies. He did a film, "Ulee's Gold," which he was nominated for best actor. That is not easy to do.

He is a writer. He co-wrote the screenplay. We are talking about him as actor and as director, but he worked with Terry Southern, famous for -- working on "Dr. Strangelove." He worked with Dennis Hopper. And out of that "Easy Rider" movie, Jack Nicholson really came into the forefront of American cinema with people like Peter Fonda as sidekick. So, when I teach classes in American history, the '60s and '70s, at university, "Easy Rider" is a big deal. We show them in classes, in my class, but all over the United States. Because perhaps along with Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Easy Rider," maybe the Woodstock documentary, these are real tools to understand a particular era in American life. Peter Fonda was one of the greats of Hollywood cinema.

COATES: And we see that tonight, Matt, that many in Hollywood are reacting to the news. Director Ava DuVernay tweeting, "Rest in peace, kind sir." Rob Reiner calling him "a revolutionary filmmaker during a revolutionary time."

Matt, what will be his legacy?

BELLONI: Well, first of all, he, I think, will always be connected with this countercultural movement. And something happened in Hollywood in the late '60s and early '70s. There was a rebirth of creativity.

There were films that were coming out of a new generation that was coming up, and you saw it throughout the late '60s and early '70s. And it led to a real rebirth and a reinvention of the Hollywood studio.

I think he will always be connected with that. He also, of course, his entire family, they are a Hollywood legacy family.

COATES: I lost your connection, but you know what? You're right. The legacy lives on not just in "Easy Rider" but in so many other wonderful works. We'll be right back.


COATES: Northern New Mexico's Rio Arriba County has long struggled with the opioid epidemic. Just last week, it received $2 million federal grant to help reduce the region's drug overdose death rate which are nearly four times the current national average.

In this rural area, where almost a third of the population lives in poverty, children don't have a lot of options. That is where this week's CNN hero steps in. His community, Art Center, gives young people a safe haven where they can find their talents and the sense of hope. Meet Roger Montoya.


ROGER MONTOYA, CNN HERO: Many of our kids come to us traumatized. We create a healthy environment where young people can discover themselves and a way to contribute.

When I see a child's face and spirit come to life, I don't need any more evidence. I know that that kind of joy is what will save them.


COATES: To see how Roger's program is sparking creativity and changing lives, go to right now. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.