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Iranian Foreign Minister Unexpectedly Arrives at 67 Amid Tension; Deadline to Qualify for Third Democratic Debate is Wednesday; Joe Walsh to Take on Trump in 2020 Republican Primary; Dave Chappelle Hosts Benefit Concert in Wake of Dayton Shooting; New Trade Deal with Japan Done in Principle; Protests in Hong Kong; CNN Original Film Halston; CNN Heroes; Andrew Luck Announces his Retirement from the NFL. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 25, 2019 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:46] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we begin in southern France where right now the leaders of the G7 summit are gathering for an official dinner. That was the photo op just ahead of the dinner when all of them -- all the leaders and then their spouses joined in.

It's a unique moment overall of this three-day event when all seven leaders of the world's major economies are seen together in this image of unity coming just as President Trump sends rather mixed messages over his growing trade war with China. Initially the president said he has second thoughts about the escalating standoff with Beijing. He was asked about that when they were all at his table. And then later the White House reversed course saying the president's only regret was not raising tariffs higher on the Chinese.

Adding intrigue and confusion perhaps amid the global tensions, Iran's foreign minister's surprise visit at the summit to meet on the sidelines with the French President Emmanuel Macron and his top officials. A Trump administration official calling that visit a, quote, "curveball." Earlier today President Trump was asked about the news of Iran's Javad Zarif's arrival.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, on a separate issue, there are reports that the Iranian foreign minister is coming to Biarritz. Can you confirm that? Is he trying to meet --



WHITFIELD: The Iranian official says he came at the invitation of France to review an anti-nuke commitment which the U.S. has withdrawn from. The French president as G7 leaders are looking for a way to ease the growing tension between the U.S. and Iran.

CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is covering the G7 developments for us.

So, Jim, what are you learning about anything more about the White House and this curveball and then what's happening with that dinner?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, that sounded there, Fredricka, that the White House was caught a bit off guard by all of this. The French are insisting that there was some kind of heads-up given to the White House and to the president. And we just haven't really sorted all of that out. But certainly the presence of Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, took a lot of people by surprise here in France at this G7 summit mainly because Iran was not expected to participate in any of this. But I think part of this is because French officials, including the French president Emmanuel Macron, would very much like to bring President Trump back into this conversation, a multilateral conversation, about how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.

Of course the president has said repeatedly he wants to deal with this on his own and as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was talking to reporters earlier today, he's saying that the president doesn't have any preconditions that he would set for a meeting with Iranian officials but that kind of meeting did not happen here at this G7 summit.

There was a lot of talk about all of that, obviously, as it happened as a big surprise late in the day. But this was a day of a lot of surprises that really overshadowed the White House message. There was the comments that the president made earlier in the day, as you just mentioned a few moments ago, when the president said he was having second thoughts about his trade war. The White House came out afterwards and said no, that's not the case, although they also said in addition to saying, no, the president's only regret was that he was not raising tariffs enough on China, they were also saying he didn't hear the question.

So there were multiple responses coming from the White House on that subject, but all of that, Fredricka, overshadowed what would have been really the overarching message of the day and the overarching achievement that the White House would like to talk about and that is this new trade agreement that the president unveiled with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe which happened late in the day -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. Yes, that agreement in principle and I guess more to be continued.

ACOSTA: That's right.

WHITFIELD: Meantime, you also spoke with White House adviser Stephen Miller who has, you know, I guess, been described as someone who kind of orchestrates the immigration policy and the direction for the White House. What did he have to say today?

ACOSTA: Yes, that's right. And he goes to a lot of these summits along with the president. He writes a lot of the president's speeches at these various events, and the president as you know is hotly interested in this immigration issue. But Stephen Miller was over here talking to reporters outside of the G7 summit. And we had a chance to talk to him about this new administration policy that they're trying to push through which would essentially extent the period of time that migrant children and their families can be held in detention down on the border.

[16:05:03] The requirement right now is that it only can be up to 20 days. The administration wants to go beyond that and hold these families perhaps indefinitely, and we pressed Stephen Miller on this prospect that migrant children could be held for extensive periods of time. And here's what Stephen Miller had to say about that.


ACOSTA: But what about the people who don't want to see -- Americans who don't want to see kids detained for longer period of time?

STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: What Americans don't want to see are children being smuggled in record numbers across our border to take advantage of a loophole traded by our court system. Americans want to see an immigration system that doesn't put children in harm's way. The only way to accomplish that end is to make sure that smuggling a child does not guarantee entry or admission into the country.


MILLER: This change will dramatically reduce instances of child smuggling, including instances of fraudulent families which we've seen a huge uptick in recent years again to take advantage of the court's ruling.

ACOSTA: But then they get locked up in the U.S. Then they're get locked on the border.

MILLER: So then -- this will end the incentive for child smuggling and hopefully all decent people can agree our immigration system should have no incentives, no rewards for the smuggling children which is heinous and must be stopped.

ACOSTA: And the president's totally on board with the policy?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why should people -- why should people trust that the United States --

ACOSTA: Thanks, Stephen.


ACOSTA: And one thing we should point out, Fredricka, as you heard there from Stephen Miller, he was saying, well, this is going to end the incentive for child smuggling at the border, but as you and I both know, Fredricka, not all of the cases of these children showing up on the border are the result of child smuggling or human smuggling. There are also in many, many cases families coming up to this border out of desperation because of the situations that they face back in their countries of origin. Showing up at the border, not running from authorities, but going up to authorities, and saying, please, we want to appeal for asylum in the United States and Stephen Miller really just did not deal with that part of the equation.

And he tried to sort of evade our questions as to how long these children might be detained. What about the possibility that you could have prolonged, extensive and definite detentions of children down on the border? He really didn't deal with that issue -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: That was his argument, however, and he said all decent people would agree with that point view of. That from Stephen Miller today.

Jim Acosta, thank you so much.

All right, with me now to discuss all the developments at the G7 summit, David Rohde. He is the executive editor of the "New Yorker" Web site and a CNN global affairs analyst.

Good to see you, David.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's focus on Iran and this curveball is how the White House is putting it. The invitation of the foreign minister of Iran to -- the invitation being extended by France to show up at the G7. So, was this masterful as I heard our Kim Dozier, you know, described it earlier, or was this, you know, underhanded or, you know, does this undermine the president of the United States?

ROHDE: I think there's a lot of diplomatic activity going on here. My colleague at the "New Yorker" Robin Wright, she reported last month that Senator Rand Paul with President Trump's blessing offered Foreign Minister Zarif, the same official we're talking about now in France, but Foreign Minister Zarif was invited to come to the Oval Office and meet with President Trump. That would have been an historic meeting, and I think the president is interested in a deal and a dialogue with Iran.

This, I think, was, you know, French President Macron's effort to make that happen and make it more multilateral. But the present I think wants a bilateral dialogue with the Iranians. He wants a big deal with Iran and wants credit for that.

WHITFIELD: So then that being the case, why wouldn't or do you still see there's potential for the president to seize upon the opportunity? There's yet at least one more day, you know, of official business and still perhaps an opportunity where the president would be able to or at least, you know, perhaps Mike Pompeo on his behalf, be able to meet with, you know, his counterpart, the Foreign Minister Zarif?

ROHDE: I think President Trump, you know, wants this on his terms, and I think he wants again a bilateral meeting with Zarif. You know, the problem in July was that Zarif I think essentially was demanding relief immediately from some of the U.S. sanctions. And the sense among the Iranians was they didn't want to just give Trump a big photo opportunity. A tremendous image of the Iranian foreign minister in the Oval Office for the first time in decades but not get anything concrete from the U.S.

There was a fear Zarif told again my colleague Robin Wright that this was going to be another big photo opportunity similar to the North Korea negotiations that wouldn't really result in anything of substance.

WHITFIELD: So this is -- I mean, on display, this is shuttle diplomacy. I mean, what does it say about Macron that he would make this happen?

ROHDE: It shows how I think interested the Europeans are in a deal. I think Trump is interested in a deal. No one wants further tensions. The president is, you know, I think very concerned about the American economy. The world economy is -- can drag down the U.S. economy. So if there's more tensions in the Gulf and oil prices go up that will create even more tension.

The big thing to look for is the U.N. General Assembly next month in New York. Zarif will be here. Will there be meetings then between U.S. officials, Secretary Pompeo, Senator Paul, maybe the president himself? That's what to look for next.

[16:10:08] WHITFIELD: All right. The president of the United States also looking ahead. I mean, next year, the U.S. would be hosting the G7. The president would love it to be G8. I mean, this is what he had to say about the idea of bringing Russia back into the fold.


TRUMP: I think that's a work in progress. We have a number of people that would like to see Russia back. I think it would be advantageous to many things in the world. I think it would be a positive. Other people agree with me, and it's something that we're discussing.


WHITFIELD: So, you know, President Trump is really, you know, on an island by himself on this, you know, especially among the other G7 members. I mean, with a comment like that, you know, preceding all of these discussions with other leaders, you know, do you feel that he is likely feeling very comfortable in this setting, especially after expressing himself on that?

ROHDE: To be honest, you know, I don't think so. He's quite isolated this to issue. And I think many Americans give him credit for sort of trying to confront China on trade and take risks in that area. But the Russia argument just doesn't make any sense. Russia is not a major trading partner. Just, you know, recently Vladimir Putin barred opposition members from running for parliament in the Moscow assembly. There's been crackdowns on recent street demonstrations in Russia. So, it's not true.

There aren't other people who share this view of the president. He goes on and on and on about improving relations with Russia. But you know, no -- none of our main allies, none of the biggest democracies in the world support this because Russia is not a democracy and Vladimir Putin keeps showing that over and over again.

WHITFIELD: All right. David Rohde, we'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.

ROHDE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead, President Trump versus former Congressman Joe Walsh. Yet another Republican challenger entering the race for 2020.


JOE WALSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Somebody needs to step up. And there needs to be an alternative. The country is sick of this guy's tantrum. He's a child.


WHITFIELD: But does Joe Walsh stand a chance against the president?

And happening right now, stars Kanye West, Dave Chappelle, Stevie Wonder, all in Dayton, Ohio, to honor the victims and support the survivors of that mass shooting killing nine people earlier this month. We'll take you there live.


[16:16:06] WHITFIELD: All right, two White House hopefuls, one big night. In less than two hours, at 6:00 Eastern, 2020 presidential candidate Steve Bullock takes the stage at a CNN town hall followed by Bill de Blasio at 7:00 p.m. It comes as both candidates try to secure their spots for the third Democratic debate in September. They are not among the 10 who have made the cut so far. The deadline is qualify -- to qualify, rather, is Wednesday.

I want to discuss this now with CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston.

All right, so, Mark, what do these candidates need to say tonight to get the interest of the voters?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as you said, they're not going to be on the debate stage next month when we see at least 10 Democratic candidates duking it out, so to speak, but we will see them in their own town hall tonight. And they're hoping that they can have some kind of moment that their appeal can somehow break through what has been an incredible amount of white noise, not only from within their own Democratic field but also President Trump.

I mean, we're at a time now where President Trump continues to suck up any oxygen. So, the idea that these two gentlemen who have two different visions of governing from the Democratic Party, two different versions, one from really from the west and from the more rural part, and that is Governor Bullock, and of course Governor de Blasio who's from here in New York City. So, they're really looking for really that Pete Buttigieg moment. That moment where they take off not only financially but also in the polls.

WHITFIELD: So we've also seen, you know, several candidates quit the race in just the past week including Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton. 21 left, you know, in totality. Is the writing on the wall for some who are at the bottom?

PRESTON: Yes, I mean, there's no doubt because money is starting to dry up. Public support has really started to wane for a lot of these folks. And as you noted, a lot of these folks made the first set of debates because they were able to reach a much lower threshold. But in order to get into the debates moving forward from September and October, you're going to have to have at least 130,000 individual donors. You're going to have to at least get 2 percent in four different polls. And the folks that we've seen on the screen right now have done that.

But I should note, if Bullock or de Blasio do very well in this town hall tonight, if they are able to gain some traction, they might be in position to actually make the October debate. So that's really the political calculation you're seeing from these men.

WHITFIELD: All right. Conservative radio host and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announcing this morning that he will challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. Take a listen.


WALSH: Because we've got a guy in the White House who is unfit, completely unfit, to be president. And it stuns me that nobody stepped up. Nobody in the Republican Party stepped up because, I'll tell you what, George, everybody believes in the Republican Party. Everybody believes that he's unfit.


WHITFIELD: All right. So now with at least two, you know, Republican challengers, might this kind of change the tide of the Republican support? His approval ratings is, you know, over 80 percent within the party.

PRESTON: Well, you know, the most interesting thing about Joe Walsh's candidacy is that he says he's going to run from the right of Donald Trump. While others such as Bill Weld would have and continue to run from the left of Donald Trump. So, Joe Walsh sometimes is an imperfect messenger. He was a bombastic Tea Party supporter. Somebody who was known to be very, very rough in his language in years past, but he has acknowledged that and now said that he was part of the problem that got Trump there but he has realized that Trump shouldn't be there.

If anything, all this does is cause just more of an irritant for the Trump campaign right now. They'd have to answer questions for somebody who clearly is not going to win the nomination. As you know, Donald Trump's approval rating in the Republican Party is in the mid- 80s.

WHITFIELD: All right. Mark Preston, thank you so much.

PRESTON: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: And of course, catch tonight's back-to-back live presidential town halls. Montana Governor Steve Bullock takes the stage first at 6:00 p.m. Then New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at 7:00 p.m. It's all happening live tonight only on CNN.


[16:23:45] WHITFIELD: Starting in the next hour, the Dayton, Ohio, community will hold a benefit concert to, quote, "reclaim" the district where a gunman opened fire earlier this month killing nine people. Thousands are expected at the event to honor the victims. It was organized by longtime Ohio resident and comedian Dave Chappelle. The event is expected to feature a star-studded lineup including Kanye West and Stevie Wonder.

Dayton's mayor spoke about the impact of today's event just moments ago.


MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: This is about building community. And that's an honor to do as a city. You know, none of this -- there's no taxpayer dollars being spent on this. The Chamber of Commerce and I raised the dollars for the security for here. So, it's not a burden on the city at all. And we're just super grateful like how generous Dave Chappelle has been on donating the stage, bringing the talent in. You know, this is a tremendous gift to the community that he's given.


WHITFIELD: CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval is in Dayton. What's going on there?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the organizers, perhaps even Dave Chappelle himself, will tell you that the real focus here is of course the benefit. Those families of the victims and of course the survivors as well as they continue to heal from both their physical and their emotional wounds.

[16:25:01] And context is certainly everything here and some perspective for you. Three weeks ago today, I was standing on this street. I was watching as investigators were still looking through the scene here just after those nine lives were cut short. And today a sea of people. This river of people that's essentially flowing through the Oregon District as people are coming together, obviously, to celebrate the healing that has happened but also to pay tribute to those victims. And many people who have been stopping by, including Kassie Gross.

Cassie, we were talking a little while ago. I want you to tell me a little bit about what's happened in the last few weeks to this remarkable community. It seems that it's back and it's better than ever.

KASSIE GROSS, DAYTON, OHIO, RESIDENT: Yes, so, I mean, especially the last couple of weeks, you know, tragedy, everybody woke up and those who weren't there, weren't directly affected were just shocked and heartbroken. And, you know, it's been a healing time for everybody. No one is moving on because this isn't something you move on from. This is something that you clearly come together as a community and you support those people who have been traumatized or injured, mentally or physically, and just let them know that you're there supporting them. And that's what we're doing today. You know, we're here to tell everybody that we support you.

SANDOVAL: Dayton has passed many tests and it just continues to show its ability to be resilient. Can you just tell me a little bit about what you were telling me a little while ago which was Dayton always steps up for Dayton, and this is proof.

GROSS: Yes, it is. You know, we had a tornado recently that came through and hit a lot of the surrounding areas. And there were so many volunteers who were always coming out and helping and volunteering and that are still doing that. And then from day one here, trying to find ways to help people and then come up to raise all this money. You know, for all the victims, all those personally involved in the incident. And I think that's just, you know, a reoccurring theme of Dayton. We're not going to give up. We're going to be there. We're going to show up and support you no matter what.

SANDOVAL: Kassie (INAUDIBLE) the rest of the residents so much love. Thanks for stopping to talk to us.

GROSS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Fred, you hear from one voice and you'll hear that over and over again that this is basically people being Dayton strong. It's a remarkable ability that the city has. And, yes, there is a sense of healing in the air, but at the same time, it's also still a fairly solemn feeling, celebrating the lives of those nine people. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: Indeed. And not losing perspective at all.

All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

Straight ahead, President Trump says he has reached a trade deal with Japan. But what about the escalating trade war with China? Find out how it could impact your bottom line, next.



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump says a new trade deal with Japan done in principle. The agreement is set to be official next month. It's centered around agriculture, industrial tariffs, and e-commerce. And while Trump strikes a deal with Japan, his trade war with China is getting more intense. This morning when asked if there has been pushback from other leaders on the issue, the president said not at all. But listen to one of his strongest international allies, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I congratulate the president on everything that the American economy is achieving. It's fantastic to see that. But (Inaudible) just our view on the trade war, we're in favor of trade.


WHITFIELD: All right. He says we're in favor of trade peace on the whole. On today's State of the Union, top White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, was pushed on those comments that you just heard from the British leader.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you responding to criticism from world leaders about the U.S. strategy with China?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, look, yeah, I am not sure I agree how you portrayed that, to be honest. I was in that meeting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you mean? That's a quote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, well, that may be a quote, but sometimes you are taking a quote out of context. Let me try to generate some context. Again, I was in that meeting for two hours with the world leaders. Indeed, I participated in the meeting. First of all, all those world leaders, every single one of the seven leaders the G7...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's out of -- Larry, what's out of context because we just rolled video? I mean, what is out of context?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I might just finish my thought, please. I was there. I heard every single one of those leaders agreed that China has exercised continuous, debilitating, and destabilizing unfair trading practices. Every single one of those leaders said that. And they expressed support for President Trump.


WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now, former economic adviser to President Reagan, Art Laffer, good to see you, Art. So what do you make of Kudlow's, you know, explanation there. He says everyone agrees, you know, with the unfair trading practices. But it seems like he doesn't recall or he said he was in the room. He didn't necessarily hear Boris Johnson who says, you know, we're in favor of trade peace on the whole. ARTHUR LAFFER, FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISER UNDER PRESIDENT REAGAN: Good

afternoon, Fred. It's good to be with you. Larry Kudlow is a very straight-shooting type of guy. He's one of my best friends, obviously. And I would be reliant on his words completely about the context for the whole two hours. The quote I am sure is correct. I mean, there's no reason to doubt that. But what you're seeing here is, I think, what are they called, the seven deadly sins?

There are a lot of things that everyone agrees upon with regard to trade with China, intellectual property, transfer of technology, and all of that stuff. And whether they're closer to trade or not, I don't know. But let me tell you. This Japan thing is a huge deal, if it's correct.

WHITFIELD: What do you mean?

LAFFER: This Japan thing is amazing.

WHITFIELD: This is hopeful to you?


LAFFER: Oh my, gosh. Japan is the worst performers on nontariff barriers. I mean, you know, it costs about $50,000 to retrofit an American car to be able to sell it and drive it in Japan. There are no American cars in Japan because of all their nontariff barriers. And Japan is a very big huge country. You know, it's a huge country. And anything that expands trade with Japan I think would be very positive for the U.S. Now, China's is also very big. I would love to see a good deal with China.


[16:34:58] WHITFIELD: So are you saying that you think that this, you know, trade deal in principle with Japan would make up for, you know, the deficits that may come from the trade war with China?

LAFFER: Well, I don't know if they'd make up for it. They're surely positive in their own right. I mean, I don't want a trade war with China either. I want a trade peace. I think that would be great. But I want to trade peace on the right terms, and I think the right terms when they're stealing intellectual property is not right. I don't think it's not right to force technology transfers. And there are lots of other things that are happening in trade with China.

And we have lots of things we can grant them as well. You know, the best situation of all, Fred, is when we have free trade for everyone. There are some things China produces better than the U.S., and there are some things we produce better than China. We should export those things we make better than they do, and they should export to us those things they make better than we do. It's win-win.

China should not be our enemy. China should be our best trading partner in the world, but it's going to be correct trade. They can't steal stuff. I don't see how they steal stuff from each other as well, which is probably true. But don't underestimate this Japan deal if it's correct. And I would have to look at it in specifics, but Japan's free trade deal would be phenomenal.

WHITFIELD: Do you think it's curious that the president would make that announcement? There's the, you know, trade deal with Japan in principle, when, you know, in a month, you know, Abe will likely be at the White House and there might be a greater pronouncement or explanation of any kind of details. Is this announcement today a way of which to perhaps distract what's going on with the China, you know, trade war?

LAFFER: Well, I don't think it's used as a distraction. I think Abe is there at the meeting. And I think he and Abe had lunch or were together, which is a natural occasion for them to announce something about a free trade deal done in principle. That's a natural. It's not a construct by any means. But yeah, I mean there are lots of things going. And I am just hoping that free trade prevails on all of these. The USMCA, what a cool deal that is, and I understand some of the stuff with South Korea is really coming along well, too.

China is a big fish in the pond. I would love to see us get a great deal with them. But from what I understand with Boris Johnson as well is I do see it happening. I mean, I've talked with the president in numerous occasions, and I have never seen a protectionist in my eyes from the president. He's always made it clear that he wants a good deal with China. His talk about having a good free trade with Britain would be just luscious. I mean, this is what we want in this world.

WHITFIELD: Luscious.

LAFFER: We're all in one planet. We're all in one planet. We need to trade with each other and treat each other like people everywhere. But you don't steal from your friends or your trading partners. And we need to have it done with rules and regulations that are proper. And I think that's what the president really wants.

WHITFIELD: All right. Art Laffer, thank you so much, good to see you.

LAFFER: We're all in one planet Fred, thank you for having me. It's great being with you again.

WHITFIELD: Wonderful. I enjoy you. I like that word luscious. That was good. All right, in Hong Kong, one of the most violent nights of the pro-democracy protests since the demonstrations began 12 weekends ago. Video shows four police officers drawing their guns and pointing them towards a group of people. It's unclear if those being targeted were protesters or members of the press.

Another sign of escalating tension came when police fired tear gas and water cannons. That happened after a small group of protesters broke away from the main march and started another march that had not been approved. Hong Kong police tells CNN this was the first time they have used water cannons since the protests began.

All right, coming up, he was America's first great fashion innovator, putting together defining looks for Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and countless others. We'll look back at the work and life of the man simply known as Halston, next.


WHITFIELD: All right. He was the first big name American designer, dressing stars like Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor. And now, the new CNN film, Halston, explores his incredible rise in the world of fashion. And I talked with celebrity stylist, Joe Zee, to remember the fashion icon. But first, here's a sneak peek at the film.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elegance and ease, a sense of owning power without being masculine and honoring the body that you have. Basically, you were usually naked underneath.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You were free inside your clothes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He took away the cage. And he made things as though you didn't really need the structure as much as you needed the woman. He really based most of his collection on most of us girls.


WHITFIELD: All right. So Joe, you know, how did this man born in Des Moines, Iowa, become, you know, this household name in fashion. Someone who would be a signature designer to the stars, to leading politicians, to even the former first lady, Jackie O.?

JOE ZEE, FASHION JOURNALIST: I think you really look at Halston as someone who was really at the -- one of the leaders, if not the first, definitely one of the first who was really about self-invention as a designer. You know, celebrity designers were not the thing back then. But he really created this aura about himself. You know, he was Roy Frowick from Des Moines, Iowa, who really became Halston, and even changed the pronunciation of his middle name from Halston to Halston to really create that aura.

But, you know, he started as a milliner when hats were really a big name. And, of course, created the signature pill box hat for Jackie O. that she wore on inauguration day with John F. Kennedy. But the idea that he really knew how to parlay his talent into something, and he really knew how to design what women wanted at that time.

[16:44:52] WHITFIELD: And that was really special to be a milliner. And now, let's talk a little bit about Jackie O. Because apparently, she really didn't like hats, didn't want hats, but felt like as the first lady it was suitable. And I read that Halston and Jackie O. had the same head size, so he was able to try on design the most perfectly, you know, coifed and fitting hats for her before sending it to her, and apparently he seemed to nail it almost every time.

ZEE: Oh, absolutely. And I think he really wanted to do something different. And Jackie also liking hats wanted something different. So back then, the pill box hat is sort of a classic signature for us now. But back then, that was a very revolutionary design. You know, hats were not done in that shape and that silhouette. So creating that idea for the first lady was really something new, and I think...


WHITFIELD: That was a risk, wasn't it?

ZEE: Oh, a huge risk. And, you know, there was really sort of a fun little moment in the documentary where he says, you know, it was windy so Jackie O. put her hand on the hat and sort of created a dent. And subsequently, a lot of hat makers would copy that dent in the hat to sort of mimic Jackie's style. So think it was such an interesting take on how that first lady back then was already so influential with her fashion choices.

WHITFIELD: So formerly, you know, or familiarly, he said, you know, you're only as good as the people you dress. You know, what did he mean? I mean, was that kind of, you know, a stamp of approval for him in his designs?

ZEE: You know, I think it's really with anyone who sort of creates this aura in dressing women that they want to dress for these women that they revered. I mean, he was really dressing the creme de la creme of women back then, everyone from Bianca Jagger to Liza Minnelli. Again, you have to think about it. This is not a time of designers dressing celebrities. I mean, we live in that time now.

But that was unheard of back then to have a fashion show on Fifth Avenue, have your entire front row filled with celebrities, no one did that. Nobody did that but Halston. So it was a very sort of interesting, sort of, I would say foreshadowing, and just sort of the times that we're in right now.

WHITFIELD: That's amazing. So he really was always in the driver's seat. He was in control of his business until he wasn't. What happened?

ZEE: You know, I think he was the first. He was a victim of being first. And I think a lot of the mistakes -- I don't even want to say they're mistakes. But it really it was sort of priming the industry for what it would become. Ultimately, you know, the -- his company was sold to Norton Simon Industries. That really allowed him to have control and that really worked.

But I think when he signed a licensing deal with JCPenney, which is sort of a mass retailer. And designers, again, did not do that. He was really the first who signed a huge billion-dollar deal that was multiyear with JCPenney. The minute he did that, every single retailer dropped him. Literally overnight dropped him.

WHITFIELD: And why? Because they felt like it diluted his name? I mean, nothing against JCPenney, but he made himself more accessible when his designs, you know, were really for kind of the special client.

ZEE: Well -- and also fashion back then was really about luxury, so everything that sat up here, his clothes were available at Bergdorf Goodman. And then fashion was at the bottom of the spectrum, which was about mass. There was nothing in between. So to have one designer raise his hand and say, well, I am going to also design mass. Well, everybody at the top of that pyramid just said, well, you know what then we're done with you.

And that's what they did. And like you see that he sort of paved the way for other designers to do it today that are hugely successful with it. But, you know, that was a huge mistake for Halston back then because his deal with JCPenney was actually poorly received. It did not too well, JCPenney. He was ultimately dropped. And he had no outlets. And the company was sold. And he ultimately lost his name, because as a designer when you sell your company, you're also selling your name.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And then so adding to the sadness, he died of aids in 1990. So, you know how did his death impact fashion, American culture, and even raise perhaps a consciousness about aids?

ZEE: This was really at the forefront of aids. And I think, you know, it was affecting a lot of people in the fashion industry. So I think in that respect, it really was something that touched a lot of people. He had such an emotional attachment to a lot of the people in his core group. I think they were even calling them the Halstonettes, which was really about the girls and the models and the people in his world.

I mean, they were really shaken. And I think it was a tough time for everybody. But I think it was really more also about the legacy of Halston. You know, he changed the face of American fashion. You know, back then, when he started, it was so much about, you know, the hippie movement and sort of disco and all these things that were really over the top. And he just literally stripped that all down to something that was simple, and easy, and minimal, and elegant, and sophisticated.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And I can't -- an iconic American fashion designer. Joe Zee, thank you so much. I mean, you filled in so many blanks for so many of us. And, of course, now we look forward to this documentary that does the same and takes it even further. Thank you so much, Joe.

ZEE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And that would be tonight, Halston, 9:00 Eastern and Pacific only on [16:49:52] CNN. Still so much straight ahead in the Newsroom. But first, many studies show that too much screen time can be unhealthy, of course, for young people. But this CNN Hero is teaming up with hospitals to make screen time healing time. Zach Weigel set out to prove that gamers can also be do-gooders. Today, he is making video games a part of recovery for sick kids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes, people believe that video games are corrupting the minds of America's youth. But video games are an incredible tool for helping kids finds a source of fun and relief during stressful and difficult times. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To people who think that games are just games,

they are so much more than that. You don't have to talk about me being sick. We can play the game, because that's way more cool than having this to talk about me being sick.


WHITFIELD: To see Zach and his gaming team in healing action, go to


WHITFIELD: All right. One of the NFL's biggest stars is choosing his health over the game he loves. Last night, Indianapolis Colts' quarterback, Andrew Luck, shocked the sports world announcing his retirement at the age of 29. Luck was coming off one of his best seasons where he won the Comeback Player of the Year Award. But Luck says the mental and physical toll have simply become too much. He was visibly emotional as he explained what he called the hardest decision of his life.


[16:55:11] ANDREW LUCK, ANNOUNCED RETIREMENT FROM NFL: For the last four years or so, I have been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab, injury, pain, rehab. And it's been unceasing and relenting, unrelenting, both in season and off season. And I felt stuck in it. And the only way I see out is to no longer play football. It's taken my joy of this game away, and this -- sorry. I have been stuck in this process. I haven't been able to live the life I want to live.


WHITFIELD: That was a phenomenal statement, hard to watch. But at the same time, you could feel his pain. But not so much for a lot of Colts fans who were un-empathetic. But that was, of course, before hearing his statement, I have a feeling, so fans were booing Luck as he left the field during the preseason game. Many considered Indianapolis, you know, to be a Super Bowl contender this season.

You're hearing a lot of fans who are, you know, lacking in understanding and certainly angry. But I wonder if some of them changed their mind after hearing his statement. Well, thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I am Fredricka Whitfield. The news continues right now with Alex Marquardt.