Return to Transcripts main page
Suicide Bombing Killed Scores Of People Celebrating A Marriage In Afghanistan; Finale Episode Of "The Movies" Airs Tonight. Aired 7- 8p ET
Aired August 18, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:24] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Thanks for being with us on this Sunday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
The President is back from a 10-day vacation and his welcome home sign, a warning that a recession may be looming. The President, however, brushing it off, asking, what recession?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. They're buying.
I saw the Walmart numbers -- they were through the roof -- just two days ago. That's better than any poll. That's better than any economist.
And most economists actually say, Phil, that we're not going to have a recession. Most of them are saying we're not going to have a recession. But the rest of the world is not doing well like we're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Kristen Holmes is live in New Jersey where the President just wrapped up his working vacation. Kristen, the President, at least publicly, seems completely unbothered by these warnings of a recession. Privately, though, I wonder, is it a different story?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NEWSOURCE NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Ana, we do know that the President is worried particularly about the markets, that he did spend the week watching them closely.
He was particularly pleased when he announced that those additional tariffs would be delayed, and there was a bump in the market. He was, obviously, not as pleased on the next day when we saw that dramatic decline in the market there.
So this is, obviously, something he is very concerned about, he is thinking about, he is talking to his economic advisers about, but, yes, putting forward this kind of "no recession, the economy's great, everything's going to be great."
And it's no surprise that he's doing this. I mean, we are coming up on the 2020 election. We know that this is going to be a huge issue for him.
It will always be an issue for an incumbent running for office -- office of the presidency, but it's an even bigger issue for President Trump who has really touted how well he has done over and over again with the economy.
He's gone as far as to say that if you elect a Democrat, then the economy will crash. You'll have none of the good things you're having now. So, obviously, all of that goes away if the economy crashes before 2020.
And all of this is happening as these new poll numbers are coming out. We're going to put them up on the screen for you here. And you see President Trump is trailing all of those top four Democratic candidates -- Biden, Bernie, Warren, Harris, all of them there.
So, actually, it was interesting, President Trump was asked about these polls while he was having that 40-minute-long conversation with reporters, and he said, of course, not surprisingly, that he doesn't believe those polls. But it doesn't make it any less nerve-racking for somebody who is watching this economy, who has really banked on this economy to see these numbers, to see the markets the way they are right now.
CABRERA: OK. Kristen Holmes, thank you for that reporting.
Joining us now is CNN senior political analyst and adviser to four presidents, David Gergen. Also, with us, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" politics editor, Patrick Healy.
David, good to see you. It's been a while. I hope you had a nice summer.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Ana. Good to see you.
CABRERA: Let's talk about where we are right now.
GERGEN: It's nice seeing you again.
CABRERA: Thank you.
CABRERA: Because our last one-term president, George H.W. Bush, lost re-election, thanks to a recession affecting the country at that time. And here we are now, you know, some 30 years later. Could Trump find himself in the same position?
GERGEN: Absolutely, but I think it's way too early to make judgements about where the economy is going to be over a year from now. There are some disquieting signs. America is doing better than most other countries, but some other countries are in trouble.
I mean, Germany is -- its economy is actually shrinking. The Chinese economy, the -- their industrial output is down to the lowest levels in 30 years or so. And so, there are some fears, and one -- and a lot of big ifs.
One big if to keep an eye on immediately, what happens in Hong Kong. If the Chinese put force in there, if they use force against demonstrators, all hell could break loose, and it could be really destabilizing for the markets.
So there are ifs like that out there -- Brexit is another big if -- that are -- that we've got to get over a number of hurdles before we get to 2020. And then we'll have a much clearer idea of whether the economy is going to be a net plus or a net negative.
CABRERA: Patrick, I know your paper, "The New York Times," is reporting that Trump is privately wondering if the media and establishment figures are manipulating the economic data to make him look bad?
PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, conspiracy theories -- surprise, surprise -- from this President. No, the manipulation is not going on. The reality is, is right now, based on the evidence, the country is not in a recession. There's about growth of about two percent.
[19:05:03] But what we're seeing -- and David, you know, nailed this -- between Brexit, between Hong Kong, between the trade war with China, there's so many variables that could negatively impact the economy. And what countries and markets look to when you have those uncertainties, those unknowns, is steady, strong, leadership from the President of the United States. Predictable, measured leadership that's not going to, you know, rock the boat even more. And you have --
CABRERA: Which is the opposite of what we have.
HEALY: Exactly, it's the exact opposite. That's the thing, Ana. I mean, when you have a chaos president and you have all of this kind of uncertainties, that reality is, is that, you know, if Britain crashes out of Brexit, if the trade war gets worse and worse, I mean, you see already sort of corporate invested -- investment spending pulling back somewhat.
You might see, you know, a slowdown in hiring. You might see layoffs. You know, any number of things can trigger, but, I mean, I think David's right. It's -- right now, it's August of 2019. We don't know what that picture is going to look like in terms of re-election, but there are real risks.
CABRERA: I want to play this moment when the President spoke about being upset with the polling coming out of Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Fox has changed. And my worst polls have always been from
Fox. There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right, and I'm not happy with it.
Fox was treated very badly by the Democrats. Very, very badly. Having to do with the debates and other things. And I think Fox is making a big mistake because, you know, I'm the one that calls the shots on that -- on the really big debates.
I guess we're probably planning on three of them, and I -- well, I'm very -- I'm not happy with Fox. I'm certainly happy -- I think Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs and, I think, Tucker Carlson and Laura and Jesse Watters and Jeanine, I -- we have a lot of great people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, David, you've worked in Democratic and Republican administrations. They all felt, at one point, or maybe several times, that, you know, the press was out to get them, but did you ever think you'd hear a president refer to a major news organization as "we"?
GERGEN: No. No. And I -- and I think this is really alarming how far over he's going. I mean, to say that he may actually vote against Fox or cast a vote against Fox and being involved in the -- in the upcoming presidential debates of 2020 because he -- their coverage is not to his liking, that's revolting.
That is the -- that -- you know, that just sends, like, shock signals through the serious press corps because it is -- it's very manipulative, and it is -- it's what strongmen do. They try to take over the voices of dissent. They try to take over the media or, you know, tie the media and their countries to, you know, suppress their voice.
And that's what's -- that's what's wrong with this. And it's -- if we really -- we ought to be very, very clear about big things. And this is a big thing when you start toying with the media and acting as if you own Fox, and you -- and if they report things badly, by God, you're going to punish them when it comes to the big debates.
CABRERA: You know, CNN has learned that former Vice President Dick Cheney will headline a fund-raiser tomorrow supporting Trump's re- election. Patrick, does this now lay waste to the idea that traditional Republicans loathe Trump?
HEALY: No, I don't think so. I mean, the reality is President Trump has very, very strong support in the Republican Party, and Dick Cheney's daughter, Liz Cheney, is in the House Republican leadership. She has been a very loyal foot soldier for the President in the House. So I think it's going to be both Liz Cheney, Representative Cheney, and her father who are going to be at this event. So I don't think it's a big surprise.
What is interesting, though, is -- and you sort of wonder if the conversations will capture this. You know, Vice President Cheney has been pretty critical of the Trump foreign policy and sometimes comparing it to President Obama's foreign policy in terms of troop withdrawals, in terms of Syria, but also just asking the questions a lot of us ask in terms of stability. You know, does President Trump believe in NATO? How is he adding to stability in the world?
And so, you know, I think Dick Cheney does still speak for, certainly, some people in the Republican foreign policy establishment who see the last 2-1/2 years as just -- you know, it's Trumpism. It's not -- it's not traditional Republican foreign policy establishment thinking. It's something very different.
CABRERA: Let's talk about the Democrats briefly. The "Times" is reporting on the relationship between President Obama and his Vice President Biden and that the two had a conversation earlier this year in which President Obama told Biden, quote, you don't have to do this, Joe, you really don't.
[19:10:00] The article goes on to say he has communicated his frustration that Mr. Biden's closest advisers are too old and out of touch with the current political climate, urging him to include more younger aides.
David, we've seen Elizabeth Warren have this huge spike in the polls. I just wonder, if Obama is as concerned about Biden's campaign as this reporting suggests, why isn't he one of -- one of the advisers of Biden in this race?
GERGEN: I think it's a very delicate question about the relationship. Biden, obviously, wants to have the President's support. He wants his advice, but he doesn't want to be seen as a poodle for him. I think this is tricky.
The "you don't have to run, Joe," I don't think we know the context exactly in which that remark occurred. It may well be that he was trying to tell him, listen, we -- you're still very -- you're in grief about your son. If you -- you don't really have to do this to save the party.
That could have been the context, but let me go back, if I might. I am very curious what Patrick thinks about that Fox News comment by the President.
HEALY: It was -- it was a strange one. I mean, it was certainly -- the President is so focused on the same audience of voters.
HEALY: You know, those are the voters that he believes he has as much control over Fox News on. And, you know, since Roger Ailes no longer -- you know, the death of Roger Ailes, Rupert Murdoch is certainly someone who the President is thinking a lot about. It's -- you know, I think he still feels like, OK, that's the audience he needs to own.
And the manipulation, as we've seen over the last few years, I think he sees Fox as an -- in a lot of ways as an arm of the administration.
CABRERA: All right, gentlemen, got to leave it there. Patrick Healy, David Gergen, good to have both of you with us.
GERGEN: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: And, Patrick, I'm happy you're here, too. I didn't express as much enthusiasm at the top. Now, I'm feeling bad about it.
HEALY: It's OK. OK.
CABRERA: But we got to have our -- we got to get our chat on in the commercial break.
CABRERA: Gentlemen, have a great week. Thanks.
GERGEN: Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, a funeral for ice. Scientists bid farewell to the first Icelandic glacier lost to the climate crisis.
Plus, caught on tape. The shocking moment a South Carolina man escaped a lightning strike. And wild sightings as alligators climb fences and cross roads in Florida.
[19:15:53] CABRERA: Scientists are calling it evidence of what they have been warning the world about. Today, in Iceland, researchers gathered to mark a sad moment, the disappearance of a glacier they say is the first one lost to the climate crisis. And they worry hundreds more could follow. These satellite images taken less than 25 years apart show the massive sheet of ice that melted away to nothing.
Listen to these words on a plaque they dedicated today called "A Letter to the Future," "In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and know what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it."
Temperatures are also soaring in the northernmost part of the United States. In Alaska, it's an unprecedented heatwave, and the stress is killing fish. Lots of them. Scientists are convinced the warmer water is to blame for a massive die-off of several types of salmon.
They say in the Cook Inlet near Anchorage, they'd never seen a temperature above 76 degrees. But on July 7th, it was 81.7 in one major stream. A researcher and tribal official in the Alaskan Yukon says she's never seen a salmon die-off to this extend before.
Now, you're about to see a lot of hard, careful handiwork destroyed in a matter of seconds. Watch this teenager climb over a glass barrier just to tear apart this sand sculpture in a hotel lobby in Hawaii. Her companion is making a video of it. It was all captured on surveillance camera as well. Police in Honolulu say they know who did it, but they're at a loss to explain why.
Well, here's a lesson we can all learn about walking around in a storm. Lightning struck a few inches from this man as he walked home in the rain in Conway, South Carolina. You see, it rattles him so much he drops his umbrella, and then he picks it up and runs to safety. Look at that. That man says he is blessed that he wasn't hurt.
And alligator sightings are nothing new in Florida, right? But this may be taking it to a whole new level. In the last week, a gator was spotted actually climbing a fence at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville. Yes, I didn't know an alligator could climb a fence, either.
And how about this image of a gator swimming through a giant puddle in the middle of an intersection in St. Petersburg? Wow. That's a big dog.
Coming up, Putin's private army. CNN investigates a secret fighting force that's doing the Russian President's bidding. And the Kremlin is so rattled a key Putin ally is falsely accusing our correspondent of being a spy.
[19:18:39] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Tonight, an exclusive CNN report exposing a secret private army that does the bidding of Russia's Vladimir Putin. Not surprisingly, Russia does not want you to know anything about it, but CNN's Clarissa Ward and her team tracked down this shadowy fighting force simply known as Wagner to find out what they do, how dangerous they are, and why it's all so covert.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Oleg. For years, he says he worked as a hired gun in Syria for a shadowy Russian mercenary group called Wagner that has become a valuable tool for the Kremlin.
OLEG, FORMER WAGNER FIGHTER (through translator): Wagner is Putin's instrument for resolving issues by force. When action has to be taken immediately, urgently, and in the most concealed way possible. I cannot say it's an army in the proper sense of that word. It's just a fighting unit that will do anything that Putin says.
WARD (voice-over): This is the first time a former Wagner employee has agreed to speak on camera, and Oleg asked us to disguise his identity. Private military contractors are illegal in Russia. Officially, Wagner doesn't exist, but CNN has discovered that the group now has hundreds of fighters operating on three different continents.
And this is the man believed to be behind that expansion. Dubbed Putin's Chef because of lucrative catering contracts with the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin is also sanctioned by the U.S. for funding the internet research agency accused of meddling in the 2016 election. OLEG (through translator): I'm a mercenary. And 90 percent of
participants of the company were like me, and they were motivated by money.
WARD (on camera): What sort of training was it? Where did it take place?
OLEG (through translator): You know, I didn't have any training as such. Not then, anyway. I spent six days in a training camp Molkino. I went to a firing range twice and shot a machine gun once. That was it.
WARD (voice-over): CNN traveled to the remote Russian village of Molkino to try to get to Wagner's training camp and found that the group has a surprisingly close relationship with the Russian military.
WARD (on camera): The only way to get into the Wagner barracks is to get through that checkpoint which is manned by the Russian military because this actually belongs to a Russian special forces unit.
WARD (voice-over): Not far from Molkino, there's a monument to fallen Wagner fighters. Visitors are not welcome, so we approach with a hidden camera.
[19:25:00] WARD (on camera): It looks less like a memorial than a fortress.
WARD (voice-over): A guard soon comes up to us. "Is the church only for Wagner?", I ask. "I don't know for whom," he says.
"For the people who are in Syria?", I press him. "I don't know. I'm telling you," he says, "I'm just guarding here."
He begins to get suspicious of our questions and we decided to leave.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he's going to call. Let's go.
WARD (on camera): Yes.
They didn't let us inside, which is not surprising because in that compound is the only tangible, visible proof that Wagner is real.
WARD (voice-over): No surprise, perhaps, that the monument is funded by a Prigozhin-owned company.
It was five years ago in Crimea that mysterious, unidentified fighters, dubbed Little Green Men, helped Moscow wrest the province from Ukraine, even as the Kremlin feigned ignorance. It was a success, and Moscow's use of mercenary forces has since grown. Analysts say none of this could happen without Putin's approval.
WARD (on camera): Do you think that part of the mission of Wagner is to help Russia restore its role to become a major global superpower again?
OLEG (through translator): Yes, 100 percent. This is the top priority for Wagner.
WARD (on camera): And so, it's trying to be a rival to America?
OLEG (through translator): Russia is trying to suppress the U.S. in every way possible using legal and illegal means. It's trying to smash it, get the better of it somehow. What will come of it as a result? Nothing good, I think.
WARD (voice-over): But for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Wagner is still a worthwhile gamble. An expendable fighting force with no accountability.
Clarissa Ward, CNN, Molkino, Russia.
CABRERA: CNN attempted to contact Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man who reportedly oversees Wagner, but his lawyers did not respond.
We also tried to contact Wagner itself, but because the group does not officially exist, it has no address, no phone number, no Web site. We asked the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment but received no response.
Coming up, a day of celebration turns to carnage when a packed wedding hall becomes the target of a suicide bomber.
[19:30:58] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Tonight, ISIS is claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed scores of people celebrating a marriage in Afghanistan. The blast tore through a wedding hall in Kabul killing 63 people and injuring 182 others. Now this attack comes amid questions about the Trump administration's plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Here's the President on that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of bad things are happening in Afghanistan. Isn't some very positive things. But, look, we are there for one reason. We don't want that to be a laboratory. OK? Can't be a laboratory for terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now that brings us to your weekend presidential brief, a segment we bring you every Sunday featuring the most pressing national security issues the President will wake up to tomorrow. And with us now is CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd who
helped prepare the daily presidential briefing for President Obama.
Sam, how does this gruesome attack factor into the discussions and negotiations with the Taliban and the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan? SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, there
are multiple terrorist threats in Afghanistan. And making a deal with the Taliban won't make them go away. Arguably, they could increase the terrorist threats if we withdraw too quickly.
The deal with the Taliban, the negotiations, are focused on getting the Taliban to renounce their ties to Al-Qaeda in exchange for some kind of U.S. troop withdrawal. The attack this weekend was not perpetrated by Al-Qaeda. It was perpetrated by an ISIS affiliate in central Asia which has been active for several years. The ISIS affiliate battles coalition forces, Afghan forces, Taliban and at times focused on Shia minorities within Afghanistan.
The Pentagon has warned that ISIS has gained territory in Afghanistan and that it retains the intent and eventually the capability to launch international attacks including potentially against the United States. That begs the question of how a U.S. drawdown would factor in.
And the devil's in the details on this. We have 14,000 troops on the ground right now. The terrorist groups are still launching attacks. They are still active. And if we draw down the focus is really going to be on what kind of counterterrorism capability we leave behind and what else we are doing to stop terrorism financing, recruitment and other means of support.
CABRERA: We know the President met with his team on Afghanistan when he was spending his time in New Jersey. He was also tweeting about a whole host of other things including what's happening in Hong Kong, the protests there. What should the U.S. posture be on that?
VINOGRAD: Well, President Trump is actually, I hope, preparing to see Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G-7 next weekend. And what he should be doing is figuring out a way to lay out the cost for Chinese interference or aggression against Hong Kong.
From the Chinese perspective, Hong Kong and Taiwan operate under what's called a one country/two systems principle. They are part of mainland China but govern themselves.
China is concerned that these protests in Hong Kong could lead to a push for greater independence and Taiwan could follow suit. We just announced also that we are selling f-16 jets to Taiwan which is angering China further. The state department and potentially Congress when they come back into session will look at sanctions against China if they act more aggressively, but Trump is on a different page. He has never been a champion for democracy including here at home. And we know that he is focused on ad concessions from China.
CABRERA: You mentioned sanctions. The Trump administration hasn't been afraid to sanction Iran. But now Gibral (ph) we are learning has released this Iranian vessel which had violated EU sanctions. What's going on there?
VINOGRAD: This is kind of a swiss cheese syndrome in an international sanctions because Eu-level sanctions don't mirror U.S. domestic law. The ship was detained for violating e-level sanctions with respect to selling oil to Syria. The ship gave authorities/assurances that they would not transport that oil to Syria. And then the U.S. department of justice said, well, the ship is violating U.S. law based on our designation of the IRGC as a terrorist entity.
The problem is EU law doesn't have the same applicability. The IRGC is not listed as a foreign terrorist organization. And we can't force the EU to uphold U.S. law. The question is whether U.S. authorities can give EU authorities some other reason to detain the ship.
And the other thing, finally, Ana, we should be watching for is if this ship is released whether the Iranians will release a British flagged tanker that they had held onto over the summer.
[19:35:16] CABRERA: OK. Sam Vinograd, thank you very much.
VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: You know Stephen Colbert as a comedian, but tonight a different side of the king of late night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: It's a gift to exist. It's a gift to exist. And with existence comes suffering. There's no escaping that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:34:27] CABRERA: We are about to show you a side of late night comedian Stephen Colbert that you have probably never seen before. He sat down with our Anderson Cooper. And instead of cracking jokes, Colbert got serious talking about losing his father and his two brothers in an accident when he was only 10 years old.
Here's part of Anderson's interview.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON 360: Your dad was killed in a plane crash. You were 10 years old along with your two brothers, Peter and Paul.
COOPER: And they were the closest brother to you.
COLBERT: Right because Jimmy, Eddie, Mary, Bill, Margo, Tommy, Jay, Lulu, Paul, Peter, Stephen. I'm the youngest of 11.
[19:40:05] COOPER: My dad died when I was 10, too. And I think, I mean, it's such a horrible age to lose a father. I can't imagine losing both my brothers at the same time as well.
For me, losing my dad then, it changed the trajectory of my life. I'm a different person than I feel like I was meant to be and I feel like there are times I -- yes, I'm -- I feel like the person -- I remember when I was 10, I felt like I marked time and to this day I mark time between while my dad was alive and after.
COLBERT: Of course.
COOPER: It's like the new year's zero. It's like when pol pot (ph) took over Cambodia.
COLBERT: Without a doubt. Without a doubt. Yes. There's another guy, there's another Steve, there's a Steve Colbert. There's the kid before my brothers and father died. And especially -- it's kind of difficult. I have fairly vivid memories from right after they died to the present. It's continuous and contiguous, you know. It's all connected. There's this big break in the cable of my memory at their death. And everything before that has got an odd ghostly --
COOPER: To me, it's like shards of glass. I feel like I --
COLBERT: Flashes. Little bits of it.
COOPER: It's always interesting to me how when you, you know, I bring it up, meeting somebody for the first time and they say, I'm sorry to bring it up, you know, and as if --
COLBERT: Like you want to forget the person who died.
COOPER: I'm thinking about it all the time.
COOPER: It is as you said --
COOPER: It is, you know, it's one of my arms. I mean, it is an extension of who I am.
COLBERT: Quite possibly for the rest of your life.
COOPER: Without a doubt. It's been 31 years since my brother died and, you know, more since my dad. There's not a day that goes by --
COLBERT: To the point sometimes I'll go, like, why is nobody asking me about this? Honest to god. My brothers died 40 -- 45 years ago. And sometimes I go, like, how come nobody's asking me about Paul? But how would they know to ask? They don't know I'm thinking about him.
COOPER: Right. And they would uncomfortable to ask. I actually, this is going to sound weird, but for a long time, and probably still to this day, wish that I had a scar. I wish I had, like, a scar --
COLBERT: Harry Potter.
COOPER: Yes. No, like Harry -- more like a bond villain. Like running down my eye and my face that's unavoidable for people to see because it would sort of -- it would just be a silent signal to everybody I meet that I'm not the person I was meant to be or I'm not the person I started out being.
COLBERT: But you're entirely the person you were meant to be.
COOPER: I don't know. Maybe not. Maybe this is a warped version of --
COLBERT: So there's another timeline with a happier Anderson Cooper?
COOPER: Yes. I mean, no, you know, there's not -- doesn't exist in alternate universe but, yes, I guess --
COLBERT: I guess that's what I mean about, like -- your faith.
My experience and the example of my mother, and from what I read and experience of my particular faith, extremely imperfectly, admittedly, is that there isn't another timeline. And this is it. And the bravest thing you can do is to accept with gratitude the world as it is and then, you know, as Gandolph says, so do all people who are in such times.
COOPER: You told an interviewer that you have learned to, in your words, love the thing that I most wish had not happened.
COLBERT: I remember --
COOPER: You went on to say what punishments of God are not gifts? Do you really believe that?
COLBERT: Yes. It's a gift to exist. It's a gift to exist. And with existence comes suffering. There's no escaping that. And I guess I'm either a catholic or a Buddhist when I say those things because I heard those from both traditions. But I didn't learn it that I was grateful for the thing I most wish hadn't happened, is that I realized it.
COLBERT: Is that, and it's an odd -- oddly guilty feeling?
COOPER: It doesn't mean you --
COLBERT: I don't want it to have happened. I want it to not have happened.
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. You can't pick and choose what you're grateful for.
CABRERA: You can catch Anderson's entire one-hour interview with Stephen Colbert tonight at 8:00 right here on CNN.
We are back in a moment.
[19:48:36] CABRERA: Tonight, CNN's original series "the Movies" concludes with a look at Hollywood's golden age, an era that spawned classics like "Casablanca," "the wizard of oz" and "King Kong." And most notably a film that every serious film student knows by heart, and that film historians generally called the greatest movie ever made, "citizen cane." 25-year-old Orson Wells produced, cowrote, directed and starred in the sweeping tale of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Cane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Citizen Cane" begins with the death of Charles Foster Canes saying one word, rosebud.
The whole rest of the movie is about a reporter searching for the meaning of rosebud. He speaks to people from Cane's past and reads the memoirs of his lawyer. And through the recollections of those people, we learn about Charles Foster Cane's life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe the thing that Wells did best was recognize what he didn't know early on at 25. So he hires (INAUDIBLE) my grandfather to write the screenplay. (INAUDIBLE) was to edit the film. Not to mention Bernard Herman's great music and the cinematography was a breakthrough and changed the way we make movies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merry Christmas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Merry Christmas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a happy new year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ben Mankiewicz is with us now.
Ben, not only do you bring your expertise as host of Turner Classic movies but your grandfather as we heard co-wrote the screen play for "Citizen Cane" with Orson Wells. Tell us how this film came to be and why there was so much controversy surrounding it at the time.
[19:50:12] BEN MANKIEWICZ, HOST, TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES: Well. First of all, Ana, you are talking to a Mankiewicz so I have to say that my grandfather wrote the screenplay. It is the Orson Wells movie, produced it, starred it, directed it, the most impressively directed film ever. Should have won a best director Oscar. Should have won best picture. Should have won best actor.
The controversy at the time came from the -- who was seen as the subject of the film, William Randolph Hurst. It was really based on Hurst and a couple of other industrialists at the time, but the focused came to be on Hurst. And Hurst, you know, again, there is no one like William Randolph Hurst now. He really controlled the media. He had hundreds of newspapers. And he tried to stop the movie. And those interested in doing business with him joined him in trying to stop the movie. And as a result, it was very hard to get the movie into theaters.
CABRERA: And yet, now the legacy that it has, made it and made it big.
1939 is considered by many to be one of if not the best year in cinema history. What are some of the film that's came out of that year and why are they considered to be so great?
MANKIEWICZ: Well, we are at the 80th anniversary of 1939. And I'm not one to argue with a year that produced "wizard of oz" and "gone with the wind." And "the women" that I was just talking about with the producer here in the CNN, the women wasn't even one of the top ten movies to be nominated for best picture. "Mr. Smith goes to Washington," "Dark Victory," "stagecoach" really most important western.
Butt I really think it is two movies that make people say that 1939 was the greatest year in film and that is "gone with the wind," the first successful modern epic. And then "the wizard of oz" which became the most popular movie ever but it didn't become the most popular movie until television.
So you know, in the 1950s, people started seeing "the wizard of oz" on television and seeing it regularly. And that changed it. Much like a movie like "Shawshank Redemption" which is the number one movie in the IMBB's poll all the time. That is a movie that didn't do well at the time but was born out of the repeated viewings on television.
I really think it's unfair to the other years. I think 1940 and 1941 were both better years than 1939. But it's a silly distinction. You know, first of all "Gone with the wind" was in production for three years. It is sort of coincidentally that it came out in 1939. So I really think, you know, 1939 through 1942 when "Casablanca" came out, can you say the four years were the greatest years in the history of the studio system anyway.
CABRERA: We don't have a lot of time left. But I do want to ask you about this. Because back in 1992, long before he became president, then real estate mogul Donald Trump sat down with noted documentary filmmaker Earl Morris. And Morris was working on a project for the Oscars that year during the discussion. Trump offered this critique of "Citizen Cane." let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The word rosebud, for whatever reason, has captivated moviegoers and watchers for so many years. And to this day is perhaps the single word. And perhaps if they came up with another word that meant the same thing, it wouldn't have worked. But rosebud works.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rosebud works.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you could get Charles Foster Cane advice, what would you say to him?
TRUMP: Get yourself a different woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Quickly if you will, your take on his analysis.
MANKIEWICZ: Well, Rosebud was the name that my grandfather had given, you know, I can't remember whether that is true. My grandfather had a favorite bicycle. It was stolen. His parents didn't replace it. It was stolen because he left it outside when it went to the library. So essentially his parents punished him for going to the library. It is like any parents dream. But the lost bicycle was in my grandfather. And I remember it correctly, he called it rosebud. But he is the one who put it in the script there.
To he president, as always, who frequently says there is no answer to this. There is an answer. You just have to read a book and find out what the answer is.
CABRERA: Ben Mankiewicz, good to have you with us.
MANKIEWICZ: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: And we just learned so much a little behind the scenes. The series finale of "the Movies" airs tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN. \
We are back in just a second.
[19:58:01] CABRERA: Here's a question for you, how do you make time to exercise when you are running for president?
CABRERA: You see him there in the back. Andrew Yang dropping by a jazzercize class to do the cupid shuffle in South Carolina. His moves even impressed chance the rapper who tweeted this. I cant be pandered to, but the confidence of that headbob 11 seconds in, might have made me #yanggang.
The symbol of American freedom, Lady Liberty and her famous welcoming words need a rewrite according to a top Trump administration official this week.
CNN's Jake Tapper sees it as a big moment in the state of a Cartoonian.
TAPPER (voice-over): The statue of liberty was in the news this week specifically the poem chiseled next to her which Trump administration official Ken Cuccinelli re-wrote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given tired and you are poor can that can stand on their own two feet.
TAPPER: perhaps while they are editing history, they are fitting the Trump administration as values, Lady Liberty might also benefit from a Trump-style makeover.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to show them that I don't care.
TAPPER: Although, the first lady is a assuredly not menacing enough for the administration's approach to immigration.
TRUMP: They come into the United States illegally, they are getting out.
TAPPER: The President would probably want her to be holding something other than a welcoming torch, perhaps a more menacing flamethrower. While we are at it, what is she doing in New York city's harbor. She should be at the border.
TRUMP: When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military police, I say consider it a rifle.
TAPPER: Then when she needs to rest, she can lie down and the President will finally get his border wall.
CABRERA: That does it for me tonight. Thank you for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera.
Up next, Anderson Cooper goes one-on-one with late night host Stephen Colbert. Enjoy.