Return to Transcripts main page


Anderson Cooper Talks with Stephen Colbert about Grief & Loss; Was Russian "Super Weapon" Behind Nuclear Incident; CNN's Special Report "WOODSTOCK AT 50" Airs Tonight at 9:00 P.M.; Democratic Candidates Reaching Out To Black Voters; Protests In Portland; Wrestling With Impeachment. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 17, 2019 - 17:00   ET



NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- have no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas. But added that U.S. citizens abroad are subject to local laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love our granddaughter. I think our deepest fear is that we might not ever see her again.

WATT: The judge gave Bethany Vierra a 30-day window to appeal his verdict. That window closes Sunday, and she is preparing a written appeal, hoping it's successful, hoping that someday she and Zaina will be able to come back here for a visit.

Nick Watt, CNN, Wenatchee, Washington.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: You are live in the CNN Newsroom. Thank you for staying with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And new this hour, 2020 Democratic candidates today are reaching out to black voters especially younger millennials. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders each delivering speeches in Atlanta, framing their White House and faith-based concerns to young, black Christians, attending a conference there.

Soon, Warren will host a townhall-style event in Aiken, South Carolina, reaching out to African-American students there. A new Fox News shows among black Democratic voters, Joe Biden leads with 37 percent, followed by Bernie Sanders at 18 percent, Kamala Harris with 10 percent, and Warren two points behind Harris.

Let's go to CNN's Leyla Santiago in Aiken, South Carolina. And, Leyla, what are you hearing from voters there about these 2020 Democrats?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually, there was a long line, as folks were starting to come in. You can see many are already setting up here, picking their seats, waiting Elizabeth Warren.

But I went out and I talked two things, their short list for 2020, as well as the short list of issues, not just the candidates. And the candidate that came up the most, no surprise. This is a crowd that's Elizabeth Warren friendly. She came up quite a bit. So did South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg as well as Kamala Harris. Those were the names I heard repeated over and over among this crowd.

In terms of the issues they cared about, healthcare, education, but overwhelmingly the issue I heard about the most was gun control which with the timing certainly makes sense.

Now, Elizabeth Warren is in South Carolina. She's been here multiple times as a candidate. But for her visit here, this is really for her about knowing her audience. Here in South Carolina, more than 60 percent of the electorate for the Democratic primary are black voters, so you're probably going to hear her talk about those plans that really highlight her support for the community. You're probably going to hear her talk about her plan for black entrepreneurs, for affordable housing, for historically black colleges and universities.

I had a chance to talk on camera with some of the voters that were waiting to see her, and I want you to hear what they told me.


BRENDA ELY: I've listened to Elizabeth Warren, and I like the way that she is willing to make an explanation for what she feels. However, I'm not quite sure how she gets to the end of getting rid of educational debt. I think it would be great, but I'm not quite sure how she gets to the end of that. And so, I want a clearer explanation in order for her to get my vote.

COLE MADDOX: I would say some advice for black voters here in South Carolina would talk about what she plans to do to keep people like me, a black male who has a higher chance of being imprisoned, how to eradicate private prisons and keep us out of prison for small charges and things like that to make us a better member of society, as well.

And Warren not the only 2020 candidate here in South Carolina. We also have Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Amy Klobuchar also courting those voters, hoping for a win in 2020 -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK, Leyla Santiago, thank you.

Let's head to the west coast now. Police in Portland, Oregon today arresting at least three people after hundreds of protesters confronted each other and were taking to the streets and keeping that city on edge.


CROWD: No justice. No peace. No Nazis (ph) in our streets. No justice.


CABRERA: Large groups of far-right extremists and counter-protesters gathered in downtown Portland today making people there afraid the two sides would clash violently as they have in the past. Now, police did find and confiscate some weapons earlier, but, so far, the protesters and counter-protesters have been a little more than just loud.

President Trump mentioning the protests this morning, singling out only the far-left group that was said to be there. It calls itself ANTIFA. This from the president. "Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an organization of terror. Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the mayor will be able to properly do his job."

[17:05:05] And this bears mentioning, the White House -- I should say the United States, even though what we just heard from the White House. The United States does not have a domestic terrorism law and no government agency designates domestic groups as being terrorist organizations. So, what the president is referring to, as far as naming any group an organization of terror, is not entirely clear right now.

Let's get out to Portland and CNN's Sara Sidner. Sara, what is the tension level there right now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is really low because the Proud Boys and the right-wing folks that came out, we watched them get into their cars and leave. And they said that they were done for the day.

At this point, what you are seeing are folks, mostly from Portland, a lot of folks on the left here, members of ANTIFA here who are gathering here. And, basically, it's a cat and mouse game with police. The police trying to keep them out in the streets and bringing in and arresting people who do go into the streets or block traffic. And so, that's kind of what's going on at this hour.

But it is -- you know, just look behind me. You're seeing -- you know, it is -- it is calm. Yes, there are still, you know, several hundred people that are still out here, you know, at Waterfront Park where all of this was to go down.

But the good news for Portland is that the idea that this was going to turn into a massive, violent protest, that did not happen. Yes, there were a couple of skirmishes. Yes, there were people -- there were several people that are -- there are several people that, you know, were basically arrested for different things.

So, the bottom line is, you know, you've got folks who are out here who are standing up against what they see as far-right ideals. But you have the president talking about ANTIFA, and specifically saying that he's thinking about creating a designation of a terrorist group -- a domestic terrorist group. And, you know, the reaction -- we've tried to get people here to talk us to. Some of the masked members of ANTIFA. Most of them have said, no. In Fact, all of them have -- had said that they wouldn't speak with us. But there is definitely a concern there because the president has left out the other side of this equation. The side of the right who have been violent as well. Some of whom have been arrested just yesterday for writing, according to police. One of the members that was supposed to show up here, although I did not see him here today. But we did get a conversation with one of the groups, or the group, the Proud Boys, who organized this event and who brought folks to this rally. Let me let you listen to Enrique Tarrio. He is the co-creator of Proud Boys.


SIDNER: In a time when the government here and the people here that live here are extremely concerned about what's going on, to have the president just pick one group when the right has also been arrested. And not to mention --

ENRIQUE TARRIO: Well, because he's mentioned this weekend. He could be tweeting right now. Right now, you're not covering white supremacy, are you? You're covering -- you're covering this event, right? So, when El Paso shooting happened, he tweeted about El Paso. Today, the event is ANTIFA. So, --

SIDNER: Is it ANTIFA though? You guys were the ones that organized this event.

TARRIO: It is.

SIDNER: So, how is this ANTIFA?

TARRIO: Yes, sure. Did anything go wrong with this event today?

SIDNER: Nothing went wrong with ANTIFA either. Nothing went wrong with you guys. It has, so far, been peaceful. Is that what you plan on doing coming here? I guess the question is, why come --

TARRIO: I'm going to keep coming here. As long as Ted Wheeler keeps pandering to ANTIFA and not calling them out by name, we're going to keep coming out here. We're going to keep wasting his resources. He's going to call all the agencies that's he's called. He's going to call the National Guard, the FBI, all those people. We're going to keep coming out here until Ted Wheeler does something.

SIDNER: What do you say to residents who say, we are paying taxes for this and you're just wasting our resources.

TARRIO: Do they pay federal taxes like I do?

SIDNER: All of them pay taxes.

TARRIO: Perfect. Then, this is just as my city as my home back at Miami. This is the United States of America.

SIDNER: So, you've come here from Miami --

TARRIO: And I'm not going to apologize.

SIDNER: -- to waste the resource of Portland.

TARRIO: That wasn't our original intent. But Ted Wheeler --

SIDNER: But you just said that it was.

TARRIO: Now it is. Obviously, because Ted Wheeler needed an ax to grind and we're not going to be that ax. SIDNER: So, you're going to keep showing up here.

TARRIO: I'm going to keep showing up.

SIDNER: Would you like to talk to us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fuck you. I wouldn't talk to you for shit. Why don't you go find a --

SIDNER: OK. All right. So, in trying to talk to some of the folks here, they are pretty rude and won't have conversations. But you can see that somebody is being beaten up over there pretty badly. We don't know why, but they're -- the police are now out here. And these little things, you know, keep popping up. So, these are some of the things that will happen that you have incidents. You can see the man over there struggling and he has something in his eyes. People are trying to help him. Who did what? We do not know, at this point. But, certainly, this is the kind of thing that people in the city don't want to see. They don't want to see occur and they don't want to see the violence. And, frankly, it has been peaceful this -- so far.

[17:09:58] But there are little things like this that happen and -- that makes everybody, sort of, on edge. And, immediately, the police, you can hear them. They're coming and they're showing up. But this is -- this is one of the fears that stuff like this will keep popping up in Portland today.

CABRERA: And we do know that police have seized things like bear spray and shields and metal and wooden poles from some of those who have shown up on the scene today.

Sara Sidner, as always, thank you for your great reporting. We appreciate it.

Call it the fort night of frenzy, even by Trump standards. The last two weeks have been turbulent, both domestically and globally. Let's start with the conspiracies. The president re-tweets a guy who baselessly implies that Jeffrey Epstein didn't die by suicide, implicating, with zero evidence, the Clintons. He also re-tweeted a claim from a random Twitter account, saying the FBI ignored investigating the Parkland shooter and the convicted sex abuse, Larry Nasser, because they were too busy investigating him.

Now, in the aftermath of the mass shootings, in El Paso and Dayton, the president insulted the mayors of both cities. And then, there was this picture with the infant who was orphaned in the El Paso attacks. A thumbs up and a grin. It did not go over well. Neither did the Mississippi ICE raids which became a new kind of family separation. And left kids alone without their parents. The Acting Citizenship and Immigration services director, Ken Cuccinelli, warned more are coming.


KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: Their enforcement efforts are up. And I think you can expect to see more of that as part of the message of this administration. We're going to enforce the law.


CABRERA: And let's not forget, it was Cuccinelli who tried to revise the iconic Statue of Liberty poem.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus' words etched on the Statue of Liberty, give me your tired, your poor, are also part of the American ethos?

CUCCINELLI: They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not be a public charge.



CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.


CABRERA: A man who has been loyal to the president not only turned on him, but suggested he's not all there.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR THE WHITE HOUSE: This guy, I was loyal to him because that is the nature of my background. That is the nature of my neighborhood. And I was trying to do everything I could to stay loyal to him. But he's going crazier and crazier.


CABRERA: It's not any calmer on the global stage. The president tiptoed around the pro-Democracy revolt, unfolding in Hong Kong, and largely ignored a series of missile launches by North Korea, which just launched another missile on Friday. In fact, he praised Kim Jong-Un and criticized the joint U.S. and South Korea military drills as ridiculous. He also took to Twitter to urge Israeli leaders to block two U.S. Congresswomen from visiting and that's just what Israel did.

And the economy, that which he always takes credit for when it's up, dropped, plummeted 800 points, after the bond market warned of a recession. Of course, he blamed everyone from the fed chair to the media, and, you know, the guy he mocked at his rally for being overweight.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That guy's got a serious weight problem. Go home. Start exercising.


CABRERA: The president, apparently, called him in person but he didn't apologize. And to cap it all off, the president inquired about purchasing Greenland. The country replied, it's open for business, but not for sale. We didn't write that for laughs, but as an example of just how truly chaotic the White House is right now. The president spreading conspiracy theories, heightening the rhetoric in New Hampshire.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401Ks, down the tubes. Everything's going to be down the tubes. So, whether you love me or hate me, you've got to vote for me.


CABRERA: And consider this. Not since the 1960s have we seen a leader so seemingly willing to play the race card. CNN Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley is with us now. And, Douglas, this approach was successful, in many ways, for Trump in 2016. But now, he's president.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, that's right, and it wasn't successful for him in 2018, and you just see the unraveling of Donald Trump before your very eyes here.

Now, his base, people that are real loyalists, will say this was a good couple of weeks for Donald Trump. But I don't know how anybody really believes that when a stock market goes down 800 points and shows that kind of volatility. And he doesn't -- is inable to go to Dayton in El Paso and be our grief counselor in chief, and you said, in moments to heal the country. Instead, turns it into a love me fest that goes sideways.

[17:15:02] Everything you just put up and talked about, I mean, it's an unbelievable amount of failure for a president that struggles to get above 40 percent approval rating. And if the economy goes any worse than it is right now, I think Trump may be in very deep trouble, trying to get re-elected in 2020.

CABRERA: There is a piece up on right now by John Blake, titled "Why El Paso and Other Recent Attacks in the U.S. are Modern- day Lynchings." And, in this piece, someone asked Latino women if they were changing their behavior in public. And one responded that she is changing her behavior. She no longer speaks Spanish when she's out alone and making sure to check store exits. And she wrote, quote, "The hate feels like a ball in my stomach and a rope around my neck." I mean, Doug, that draws an uncomfortable comparison. After the El Paso mass shooting, do you see parallels between a time of race-based lynchings and today?

BRINKLEY: I wouldn't go that far and make that analogy. But I could tell you, the border with the United States and Mexico is a really special part of the country. There's a proud bilingual tradition. And as we've said on CNN over the last years, El Paso has a very -- is a very healthy city that people between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso are able to get along pretty well.

So, it's this outside agitation, particularly the president of the United States turning the border into a kind of war zone for political gain, ratcheting up his nativism and xenophobic rhetoric, that would make somebody compare this to the lynching era in the south.

The big problem that we're having right now is Donald Trump from day one has the strategy of divide and conquer, and most American presidents have to unite. And they -- most great presidents are optimists, people like Theodore Roosevelt, and FDR, John Kennedy, and Donald Trump's operating on fear. He wants to divide people on race and ethnicity, and hence our country.

The question isn't going to be, are you better off than you were four years ago, in 2020. The question is, are we more united than we were four years ago? And the big answer is, no. We are a much more disunited United States under Trump's xenophobic leadership.

CABRERA: I just, really quick, want to ask you about what we heard from Anthony Scaramucci earlier this week. Again, the former White House communication's director adviser of the president. Obviously, he was a supporter and now he's, sort of, changed his tune. But he said the president is operating at a level worse than racism. Do you agree? Do you think that President Trump is just stirring the pot, thinking that creating these divisions and stoking the flames of white supremacy, for example, as some have accused him of doing, are, really, just for his own political gain, in some way?

BRINKLEY: I believe that's the core of it, although he has an entire history of racism. I mean, just dealing with the Central Park Five issue alone. But, you know, we've tracked him. There are hundreds of times that you would call it rank bigotry, courtesy of Donald Trump.

But, in the end, it's an election strategy at heart. And, remember, his real political hero was Richard Nixon. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1965, Nixon saw the south as right for the Republican Party. George Wallace ran in 1968. And then, Trump's looking to get re-elected the way Nixon did in 1972 with the biggest landslide over a liberal George McGovern. They used to paint McGovern in 1972 as the candidate for acid, amnesty and abortion. You see Donald Trump trying to paint the Democratic Party as socialist or communist. It's, kind of, a page out of Nixon's book.

CABRERA: Doug Brinkley, thank you. Appreciate you being here.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Nearly half of the Democrats in the House are calling for President Trump to be impeached. But how is that playing with voters back home? We'll take you to a swing district in Michigan next.


CABRERA: A majority of House Democrats are now calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The total now stands at 122. That is 52 percent of the House Democratic caucus.

But lawmakers aren't in Washington right now. They are back home in their Congressional districts, where support for impeachment may not be as popular, especially in districts that went for President Trump in the last election.

Manu Raju went to one such area to take the political temperature.


MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To a growing number of House Democrats, there is no question that President Trump must be impeached for breaking the law. But here, in the Republican-leaning suburbs of Detroit, a major battleground in the 2020 presidential race and for control of the House, the question is much more complicated.

(on camera): Why not impeach, if he's --

REP. HALEY STEVENS (D), MICHIGAN: I have mixed reviews from people in my district.

RAJU (voice-over): Congresswoman Haley Stevens, a freshman Democrat, is navigating a fine line in this bell weather district that's been dominated by the GOP for over a decade. She's projecting an image of a bipartisan pragmatist, accessible to her constituents.

STEVENS: Well, I'm not going to let you down.

RAJU: Pushing on issues like education reform, manufacturing and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

STEVENS: Their sabotage agenda is showing that it will not stop. But your member of Congress is not stopping either.

RAJU: Which she, soon, may have to pick sides in a debate raging in Washington, whether to impeach the president. And no matter what she does, voters in this closely-divided district are bound to be angry.

(on camera): If she were to vote to impeach the president, how would you feel about that?

GABRIEL COSTANZO: I would not be happy with that and neither would a lot of my friends.

RAJU: Do you think that the president should be impeached?

JEAN GUOIN: I don't know what they want to do with him, but I think they should get him out of there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not going to happen (INAUDIBLE.)

GUOIN: I know. But he's an egotistical maniac and I don't really care for the man.

RAJU (on camera): Stevens prefers to wait until there's a conclusion to the court fight between House Democrats and the Trump administration.

STEVENS: I don't want to be in a rush to fail. Some of this, Manu, is so deeply personal.

RAJU: Yes.

STEVENS: It really is. I'm spending time with my church, my family, evaluating the documents. And I'm holding tight here.

[17:19:58] RAJU: The predicament helps explain why House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has, so far, resisted calls to move forward on impeachment. Pelosi is eager to defend the 31 seats won by Democrats, like Stevens, in districts that Trump carried in 2016. It is fearful that a misstep by House Democrats could cost her party the majority and help re-elect Trump. The divide is especially stark among the Michigan Congressional delegation, where a Republican left his party after calling for impeachment proceedings. One freshman Democrat an outspoken leader of the Charge. And other Democrats in neighboring districts uncertain about pressing ahead.

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: I'm somebody who's conflicted myself about impeachment. I think we've got to be very careful in our approach.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: Many of my folks here actually elected me because I was very strong, even during the campaign, that this president needs to be held accountable to the United States Constitution.

RAJU (on camera): Now, the House speaker has thrown cold water for months on moving forward on impeachment. But she's, increasingly, left the door open and is endorsing House Judiciary Committee moves signaling it is considering moving on articles of impeachment. And that decision could be made later this year, meaning those Democrats in difficult races, holding seats in Republican areas, could be forced to make a decision in just a matter of months.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


CABRERA: He's one of the people who brings laughter into your life each weeknight, but his life wasn't always so happy. A revealing interview between late-night host Stephen Colbert and our Anderson Cooper, next.



[17:30:14] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, are forcing scores of people to lay their loved ones to rest much sooner than they ever thought possible.

But whether it comes suddenly or tragedy or you have time to prepare, the sad reality is that grief and pain are a part of life.

That's something comedian and late show host, Stephen Colbert, knows all too well. He lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was just 10 years old.

Colbert sat down with CNN's Anderson Cooper, who just lost his mom, Gloria Vanderbilt, and they talked about how no one can escape suffering and why that is not such a bad thing.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "A.C. 360": You told an interviewer that you have learned, in your words, "Love is the thing that I most wish had not happened." You went on to say, "What punishments of God are not gifts? Do you really believe that?


It's a gift to exist. It's a gift to exist, and with existence, comes suffering. There's no escaping that.

COOPER: It doesn't mean you --

COLBERT: I don't want it to have happened. I want it to not have happened.

COOPER: Right.

COLBERT: But -- if you are grateful for your life, which I think is a positive thing to do, not everybody is, and I'm not always, but it's the most positive thing to do, then you have to be grateful for all of it.


CABRERA: You can see the rest of the conversation between Anderson and Stephen Colbert. That airs tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

We'll be right back.


[17:35:37] CABRERA: A missile explosion in Russia leaves nuclear scientists dead and causes radiation level to the climb and raises new questions about what exactly was being tested. The Kremlin said, "Accidents happen," but has said little else.

But could the mystery of this missile test involve strategic weapons touted by none other than Vladimir Putin?

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As often the case in Russia, slow drip of information about exactly what happened near the Arctic Circle, where this explosion seems to have caused radiation, some of it appears may be drifting in the direction of Scandinavia.

Slowly, people learning more and more about the missile that may have been fueled and driven by a nuclear reactor. A bid for Russia to find a new generation of cruise missiles. But it so far doesn't appear to have been entirely successful.

(voice-over): The tiniest traces of radiation recorded on the Norwegian northern coast, say Norwegian officials. A radioactive I.D. they said from an unknown source, which isn't harmful to people.

Could this be more fallout from Russia's accident in the Arctic, which sent radiation levels soaring and killed five scientists during an apparent missile test? And what is the "Skyfall" known as the 9-M-370 in Russia.


WALSH: Announced by President Putin in March 2018, it was lauded as a new generation of unstoppable nuclear-reactor-powered cruise missile that would render U.S. missile defenses obsolete.


WALSH: They claimed it had unlimited change and can fly around the world multiple times before approaching its target from an unpredictable anger.

The point is the technology is secret, yet most analysts believe it uses a nuclear reactor to heat air propelling it forward while expelling nuclear waste.

The U.S. called their version Project Pluto. It was abandoned in the '60s because of the trail of damaging material it leaves behind as it flies. Basically, a dirty bomb with wings.

DR, MARK GALEOTTI, SENIOR FELLOW, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE STUDIES: This is a doomsday weapon. It's not something that could be deployed in anything other than a full-scale nuclear war. It's a cruise missile that can stay in the air for a longer time but, at the same time, it's belching out radioactive plumes behind it.

WALSH: These satellite images show an apparent launch site in 2018.

Does it work? U.S. officials told CNN it's being tested a few times, but never fully successfully. The truth is, we just don't know how close success it is now. Leading to the question, why would the Kremlin try to show off technology that doesn't seem to fly.

GALEOTTI: Vladimir Putin's Russia is trying to puff itself up. It's trying to look more militarily formidable than it is. They don't like the fact that the test failed. The fact that we're all no talking about the latest Russian military technology is something of a plus.

WALSH: Yet, the risks the Kremlin appear to tolerate in pursuing this new arms race mean a more dangerous world could be ahead.

(on camera): So there aren't many other missile programs, it seems, that Russia has been more keen than you think to publicize. As you heard there, it may well be because they're trying to make their military capabilities seem bigger than they are.

But certain, now with many missile treaties being whittled away at by Washington and Moscow, deep concerns potentially about this new arms race. And obviously, too, of course, the immediate regional impact if Russia has more accidents like this.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


[17:39:25] CABRERA: A new report on how Facebook paid outside contractors to listen to your private conversations. How is the social media giant responding?


CABRERA: Fifty years after Woodstock, music festivals are a $32 billion industry. But what became of the values and ideals of those concert goers and the hippies in the mud?

CNN's Bill Weir explores the legacy of those three days of peace, love and music in the new CNN special report "WOODSTOCK AT 50." Here's a preview.



BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost exactly 50 years ago, a former Army paratrooper from Seattle walked on to a plywood stage in this field and played an old song in a new way.


WEIR (on camera): America would never be the same.


WEIR (voice-over): You can see it in the Oscar-winning documentary that, by the time Jimi Hendrix ended Woodstock, it was Monday morning and only a few thousand dazed and dirty souls remained on what looked like a civil war battlefield.


WEIR (on camera): But it was just the opposite. This was a peace field. And 50 years later, it is hippie hallowed ground.


WEIR (voice-over): Because right here in the middle of a cold civil war, nearly half a million people came together for three days. Peace, love and music, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.


[17:45:13] WEIR: It should have been a humanitarian disaster, but that weekend held enough human connection to shape generations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do we want it?


WEIR: Fifty years later, there's still so much protest songs for inspiration, so much hunger for harmony.


WEIR: But festivals are an industry now. And with so many messages on so many stages --


WEIR: -- could a Woodstock ever happen again?


CABRERA: Bill Weir is with us now.

Wow, what an incredible journey it was for you.

WEIR: It was really fun.

CABRERA: You said now, more than ever, it seems that Woodstock kind of connection is so vital.

WEIR: Yes. Well, we see the mirror images, as I did there deliberately, between '69 and now, between divided factions in America and people talking past each other. And it was more violent then. That's the backdrop of this is, after the horror of '68, the assassinations, the civil rights marches that were turning violent.

And for some reason, these three days -- and I hear these stories from state troopers who picked up hippies out of the mud after cutting their feet and laying them down gently and then the hippies pushing the cop car out of the mud.

The fences came down. The tickets were worthless. The organizers, instead of trying --

CABRERA: They just gave up. WEIR: -- just, they gave up. And it turned into the biggest freebie in sort of cultural history.

And I just wonder if we're capable of that 50 years later and we tried to look for the answer in that question.

CABRERA: Of all of the Woodstock stories you heard along the way, there's one involving Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, you say, that really moved you. Tell us about that.

WEIR: Yes. These guys gave us some of the most beautiful harmonies in rock history. This was rock's first super group. They played their second gig at Woodstock. And instead of peace, love and music, for the rest of the careers, it was in-fighting and jealousy. They don't speak to each other anymore.

And I asked David Crosby, if you guys can't get along, what hope is there for the rest of us. His point to that was, look, we were fighting before Woodstock and after Woodstock, and that was a bright, shining moment.

And that's what we should think about it. Not as failed promises that somehow those hippies would give us 50 years of warless peace and love but that it's something to aspire to when things get rough.

CABRERA: That's interesting. I contemplate, how do you get there.

WEIR: Yes.

CABRERA: Do you think -- I mean, we saw the effort was there to have a Woodstock 50 festival --

WEIR: Right.

CABRERA: -- this year, which we know crashed and burned and won't happen. There are plenty of other festivals. Do you think that we have seen or will ever see something that's at that level?

WEIR: I tried to figure that out. I've been to Bonnaroo down in Tennessee for years, since it first started. It's a big festival in a big hay field there. I love Lallapaloosa and Coachella.

I think, because it's part of this $32 billion live music industry, and at last for the generations of my kids, they go to festivals as a diversion, not as a political action to rail against the war in Afghanistan.

The comparison between the protest music in '69 against Vietnam and now, you -- you go to Bonnaroo and Coachella, you wouldn't know that we've been fighting in Afghanistan longer than a lot of those kids have been alive. Because they're more worried about getting shot at schools these days. Priority has shifted.

I think it was a product of that its time, like the shining moment when everything came together. And miraculously, there were virtually no casualties. CABRERA: The footage that we've seen already is incredible. Nobody

tells a story like you, either.

WEIR: Oh, thanks.

CABRERA: I'm very excited for tonight's special report.

Thank you, Bill Weir.

Please do tune in, go on this journey across America, music and generations, and discover the legacy of Woodstock. CNN's special report of "WOODSTOCK AT 50" airs tonight at 9:00, right here on CNN.

[17:49:04] We'll be right back.


CABRERA: Northern New Mexico has long struggled with the opioid epidemic. The number of deaths from a drug overdose there is nearly four times the national average. "CNN Hero" Roger Montoya is trying to help the children of families that are struggling with drug addiction. Take a look.


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.

Long neck. Just find the length.

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.


CABRERA: To see how Roger's program is sparking creativity and changing lives, go to CNN




CABRERA: That was a classic scene the 1969 classic counter-culture film, "Easy Rider," starring Peter Fonda. The actor and director died yesterday of respiratory failure due to lung cancer. Fonda was nominated for an Academy Award for the "Easy Rider" screen play, along with his co-star, Dennis Hopper. He was also nominated for best actor for the title role in "Ulee's Gold" in 1998. Peter Fonda was 79 years old.

CNN's original series, "THE MOVIES," takes a look at the early years of cinema, "Casablanca," "Citizen Kane," "The Wizard of Oz." Here are stories behind the movies you love. Again, tomorrow night. Here's a preview.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The song has to advance the story. All of that longing. You know that she has to go on a journey after she sings a song like that.


[17:55:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then, all of a sudden, she gets to go someplace else. She's taken up by a tornado and she lands in this magical world.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She doesn't know that she in another world until she opens that door. And it is in beautiful color.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't think about "The Wizard of Oz" without the yellow brick road. The was technicolor that had colors that were amazingly different. Because it was a fantasy, the colors didn't have to be completely realistic. But very alive and very exciting. This was entertainment that people hadn't seen before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is astonishing what they were able to do and how poignant all of those performances are.

RAY BOLGER, ACTOR: Don't you think the wizard could help him, too?

GARLAND, ACTRESS: I don't see why not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, they brought such incredible humanity and poignancy to these crazy characters.

GARLAND: Yes, I'm ready now.

BILLIE BURKE, ACTRESS: Then close your eyes and tap your heals together three times.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the greatest children's film of all time that people constantly relate to the idea of leaving home and finding home again.

GARLAND: Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home.


CABRERA: The final episode of "THE MOVIES" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN. New details that union workers in Pittsburgh were given an ultimatum

when it came to their attendance at this Trump White House event. We'll show you the memo that went out to workers, next.