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CNN NEWSROOM

President Trump At G7 Summit, Second Thoughts On Trade With China; Boris Johnson Offers Rare Gentle Criticism To Trump On China Trade; Joe Walsh Declares Candidacy For Republican Nomination; Identity Theft From Space; Trump's China Tariffs And Wall Street; Brazil Deploys Military To Help In Amazon Fire; Prince Andrew's Statement On Relationship With Jeffrey Epstein; Elie Honig Answers Legal Question In "Cross-Exam"; Virginia Solemnly Marks 400th Anniversary Of American Slavery; Shooting Deaths Of Young Children On The Rise In St. Louis, Missouri; Benefit Concert For Mass Shooting Victims In Dayton, Ohio; Remembering One Year After John McCain's Death. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 25, 2019 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alex Marquardt in this afternoon for Ana Cabrera. We're beginning today at the G7 summit which is taking place this year in the south of France where seven of the world's most powerful leaders have been gathering.

Now, it's just past 11:00 p.m. over there. They should be finishing dinner following a full and long day of meetings. And it was earlier during those face-to-face talks that we saw something we don't normally see from President Trump. What, at first, seemed like an honest admission of something that he might have gotten wrong, or so we thought. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, for sure. Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Second thoughts, yes?

TRUMP: Might as well. Might as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have second thoughts about escalating the war on China?

TRUMP: I have second thoughts about everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: He has second thoughts about everything. And within minutes the White House claimed the president had been misinterpreted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president was asked this a couple of times and he said a couple of times, that he's had second thoughts.

STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF TREASURY: I think we're not cleaning up anything. I want to be clear. The president -- we saw how this was being reported. The White House put out a statement.

ACOSTA: We just quoted him. How is that --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you spoken to him directly about it?

MNUCHIN: Yes. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to know -- what did he say exactly --

MNUCHIN: Again, he said he was not having second thoughts about putting on the tariffs. If anything, he was thinking about raising them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he tell you that he misheard the -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- are creating confusion for leaders who are here at the G7 summit. They --

MNUCHIN: I don't think that there's any confusion -- let me say, these meetings have been going great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: And one of those reporters you heard just there asking questions of the Trump economic team was our very own chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, who is in France with the president. Jim, good to have you with us.

In the past few days, we've seen the stock market tumble because of the president's comments on China. Then we saw their response of $75 billion in tariffs. Why does the White House feel do you think it was so important to say what the president meant was that he wished he'd gone farther with his tariffs?

ACOSTA: Yes, Alex, You know, I think the White House is trying to have it several different ways. You heard the White House say that the president wishes he could raise tariffs. And at the same time they are saying he didn't hear the question.

And so they were answering all of this out of multiple sides of their mouths over here in France. And I think the problem was is that we were all quoting the president accurately.

And they didn't like the way it played out across the world as if the president was having second thoughts and second-guessing his policy, which he did cause a huge uproar earlier in the week when he made these statements about this trade war with China.

Now, when we saw Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, we saw Larry Kudlow, the top economic adviser, they were dialing all of that back and claiming what Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary said, which is that, you know, the president, if anything, would like to raise tariffs on China.

But they were very clear about the fact that that was not exactly something that's going to happen. But it is something the president wishes he could do. So they were really trotting out multiple lines of defense there to try to clean all of this up.

And you heard the treasury secretary there say Alex, that he wasn't cleaning things up. But this has been a summit of distractions, Alex. Not only did we have that earlier in the day. We had this surprise visit by the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif which caught the White House somewhat by surprise.

They were telling us privately through officials this was somewhat of a curveball. But, Alex, I talked to a French diplomatic official earlier this evening who confirmed that we've been reporting, which is that the French president Emmanuel Macron gave the president a heads up that Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister was coming.

And all of that overshadowed what the president wanted to be the story of the day, the story line of the day. And that was that he had agreed in principle with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on this new trade agreement they've been talking about. And so, it has been a somewhat of a distraction so far for the president, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Right. And of course, host France, being the host country, that is their prerogative to invite Zarif there, but it certainly has been causing some ripples. Jim Acosta, down there in the south of France. Thanks very much.

Now, heading into the G7 summit, we had reported that the president had questioned why he even had to go in the first place. We know that he complained that past summits had been a waste of time and that the only bright spot was his meeting with Britain's new prime minister and long time supporter, Boris Johnson.

That meeting with Johnson happened today and Boris Johnson, who the president was so eager to meet, became the first leader, at least publicly to challenge the president on his ongoing trade war with China. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Our country is doing really well. We have horrible trade deals, and I'm straightening them out. The biggest one by far is China.

[17:04:58] BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I just want to say, I congratulate the president on everything that the American economy is achieving. It's fantastic to see that. But just to register the faint, sheep-like note on our view of the trade war, we're in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're in favor of trading peace with China? JOHNSON: Well, we thing that on the whole, the U.K. has profited

massively in the last 200 years from free trade, and that's what we want to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: For more on this, I want to bring in Washington Correspondent for "New York Magazine," Olivia Nuzzi and CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ryan Lizza.

Thanks both for joining me.

Ryan, first you -- when you first see Boris Johnson, the new British prime minister there complimenting the U.S. economy under Trump but then saying that he is more in favor of trade peace, how much does it emphasize the fact that the U.S. really is alone when it comes to his Chinese economic policy?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, the words don't sound that like that big a deal but when he says that the U.S. should dial it back and he rebukes the president in front of all of those officials -- first of all, personally, we know how Trump reacts to something like that.

But in diplomatic terms, that was a pretty extraordinary rebuke. And Johnson has a very tough line to walk right now. He's trying to negotiate a Brexit deal and to sort of help cushion the British economy, he needs a trade deal with the United States.

Of course, Trump is extraordinarily unpopular in the U.K. so there's no percentage in Boris sort of sucking up to Trump for his home base. So I think you see Johnson straddling that right now. But to your point, its part of this, you know, previous G7 or G8 summits, the American president was the undisputed leader at those summits, right?

There were always conflicts, always disagreements, but the U.S. led. We're now seeing Europe go its separate way on a number of issues, whether it's Brexit, whether it's climate change, whether it's how to deal with North Korea and Iran. And we see Trump as sort of a problem that all of these leaders need to deal with rather than as a consistent ally.

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: No, but even when you see Boris who is a laughing stock in m any ways kind of condescending to the president and saying, well, the U.S. economy is great, there seems to be a bit of wink when he said that before bringing in his criticism. And I think that's tremendously humiliating for the U.S. on a global stage like that.

MARQUARDT: Olivia, do you think it speaks to the increasing U.S. isolation? We saw Jim there describe what U.S. officials called a curveball with the presence of Javad Zarif. But that really highlights the fact that the U.S. is seemingly alone on the Iran issue.

Out there alone in terms of wanting to bring Russia back into the fold. Right now, as you mentioned Ryan, it's the G7, not the G8 -- the U.S. of course being alone on climate change. Does all this -- does a summit like this reinforce that isolation of the U.S.?

NUZZI: I think it underscores that that is the effect of Donald Trump's actions, right? He has said previously he tried to make the America first slogan sound less frightening by saying America first does not mean America alone. But I think in practice we have seen that really -- the U.S. is really isolated from the global community.

And I also think, you know, if anything, it seems like infrastructure week has been transported overseas during this. I think his inexactitude is really causing a lot of problems. You know, in America we know how to interpret Donald Trump, right.

We know when he says things, it's -- it may sound like one thing in the moment but it's probably not the case. He'll probably change it later on in the week or later on in the hour.

I think we're learning and we're seeing again, as we have in the past when he's taken trips like this, that when he says things in exact way or things that are a little bit confusing, it can have realtime effects and confuse the global community and kind of impact the conversation away that it doesn't here domestically.

MARQUARDT: But domestically, bringing this back home, Ryan, is this the kind of thing that the president's base likes to see. And looking forward, how much is what happens in the global economy, in the U.S. economy going to impact his chances in 2020?

LIZZA: Yes. Look, especially on the right, international institutions or international conferences are not some big political plus to many American voters, but much more on the right, right? So there is, you know, many Republican campaigns have been run against, you know, France and Europe.

So, it's not like he's going to lose any political capital with his base by being, you know, crass or unsophisticated at the G7 or for the press highlighting the differences between Europe and our other allies and Trump.

Look, by far, the biggest concern he has is the economy, right? And we know that the head of the E.U. has issued a warning about the west falling -- western countries falling into a recession.

MARQUARDT: Right.

[17:09:56] LIZZA: That's the, you know, that's the big issue. And to the extent that some of the issues that they're discussing at the G7 may affect the U.S. economy adversely, especially these issues on trade, that is by far, the biggest concern that the White House has going into re-election.

MARQUARDT: Olivia, I do want to bring it back to domestic politics again. We saw Joe Walsh, former congressman, Republican, declare that he was going to challenge the president today. We also know the president has, according to the latest CNN poll, an approval rating among Republicans in the mid-80s which is incredibly high. So does someone like Joe Walsh stand any sort of chance? Is he just trying to send a message? Is the president vulnerable?

NUZZI: Well, I talked to Joe Walsh yesterday for "New York Magazine" before he had formally gotten into the race as he did this morning. And when you talk to him it seems like his whole object is to get under Donald Trump's skin and to try to test to see how solid his base really is, how vulnerable he really is.

I think he looks at those polls and he -- the way that Donald Trump talked about the silent majority in 2016, right? People may not tell a pollster on the phone that they're going to vote for him but deep down they knew that they could.

I think Joel Walsh is betting on the fact that perhaps a lot of Republicans who say that they support Trump really deep down don't and are skeptical of him or humiliated by him or know at least that long term he is having a negative effect at least on the Republican Party, if not the country more broadly.

MARQUARDT: That 85 percent figure, it's pretty high.

NUZZI: And it's pretty high.

MARQUARDT: Olivia Nuzzi, Ryan Lizzza, thanks for coming in.

LIZZA: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Well, coming up, the final frontier in identity theft? NASA is investigating allegations of the first crime ever committed in space.

Plus, live pictures from tonight's CNN presidential town hall event. Montana Governor Steve Bullock and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, they will be taking questions from the audience beginning at 6:00 p.m. tonight. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Now, this is an incredible story. NASA is looking into claims of the first crime ever committed in outer space. And now, the accused astronaut is responding. Astronaut Anne McClain is facing claims of accessing her estranged spouse's bank account and stealing her identity from the International Space Station.

McClain has tweeted a firm denial saying, "There's unequivocally no truth to these claims. We've been going through a painful personal separation that's unfortunately now in the media." There nor signs that any money was moved or spent. Here's what McLane's estranged spouse, Summer Worden, has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUMMER WORDEN, ESTREANGED WIFE OF ASTRONAUT ANNE MCCLAIN: When I called my bank to ask about this and inquire, they, in fact, confirmed that, yes, the ISP from NASA had been accessing my account.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUARDT: So it was the ISP from that computer that was accessing the account. I want to bring in CNN Aviation Analyst, Miles O'Brien. Miles. This is confounding and fascinating on so many different levels. First, in terms of the technicalities, how does NASA handle the allegations of a crime submitted in outer space? Who has jurisdiction?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, Alex, this really goes back to a treaty in 1967, the Outer Space Treaty, which says basically if a crime is committed in space, the jurisdiction falls to the country of the person who is alleged to have committed the crime.

More specifically in this case, it will begin with the NASA inspector general's office. And then it is possible as charges or an allegation or complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission that there could be some action taken at that level.

It's difficult to see exactly where it goes from here because this is absolutely new ground. This is the final frontier and the first time we've seen an allegation any of crime located above the atmosphere as it were.

MARQUARDT: So as we noted, no money was moved. No money was stolen as far as we know. McClain admits that she did access her spouse's account, arguing that she did so to make sure that her estranged spouse, Worden, had enough money to pay the bills.

So, how will NASA mediate this dispute between these two married people? Do they generally get involved in the middle in disputes like this, considering we haven't really seen a dispute like this?

O'BREIN: NASA does not have a marriage counseling directorate so this is not their area of expertise. This puts them at the edge of the envelope as it were. I think, you know, what you're talking about here is an acrimonious breakup with a person in an unusual job at an unusual location.

But what happened really happens every day here in this country as people dissolve their relationships. Banks are checked when maybe there is an expressed permission or there is some ambiguity as to who has ownership of those accounts in the midst of a breakup.

So, it's confusing on the ground anyway, but add to the fact this is occurring with a person on the International Space Station does take us into a new realm. And I will tell you this, Alex, as more and more people move into space and we think about space tourism, this is really just going to be the beginning. And it's going to have to be a whole body of law that develops as human beings move into space.

MARQUARDT: McClain has a really impressive profile. I believe she's a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force. She flew fighter missions in Iraq. She is now on board the ISS and is saying that she has total confidence in the NASA inspector general.

But, Miles, as this all plays out, can McClain go on doing her work? Can she continue with her mission and other NASA missions during this investigation?

O'BRIEN: Well, just to clarify. She did land in June so she's on the ground right now. But she is among the people that were on the short list of women who might be considered the first women to walk on the moon.

NASA, of course, has announced this effort to reach the moon by 2024. A program called Artemis. And the administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, has said the next person to walk on the moon for NASA will be a woman.

[17:20:01] She was on that short list. Now, how this all plays out could very much have some impact on that decision and whether her career lands her on the moon or derails it entirely. It's hard to see right now.

MARQUARDT: All right, Miles O'Brien on this really incredible story. Thanks for joining us.

O'BREIN: You're welcome.

MARQUARDT: Now the White House is now saying that the president's only regret in hiking tariffs on China is that he didn't raise them even higher. So what does that mean for Wall Street in the week ahead? CNN's Alison Kosik has your "Before the Bell" report.

ALSION KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alex. Trade fears are front and center again for Wall Street. Stocks plunged on Friday as the U.S./China trade war escalated. First, China unveiled a new round of tariffs on U.S. goods. Then President Trump says U.S. companies were hereby ordered to look for alternatives to do business in China.

All of this comes as concerns about the state of the U.S. economy mount. This week, investors will be closely looking at consumer spending data. The manufacturing sector is in focus as well. There have been signs of weakening there lately, which can be a red flag for the overall economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIZ ANN SONDERS, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, CHARLES SCHWAB: If things continue to deteriorate and we start to see it morph into things like employment and wages, then it's likely to impact the consumer sector. Where we are starting to see some signs of that is some of the more manufacturing oriented states. Initial unemployment claims are picking up, and that is a classic leading indicator that tends to morph into bigger problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: This week, investors also will get another look at second quarter gross domestic product. It originally showed the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.1 percent. We'll see if that number is revised. In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.

MARQUARDT: All right, our thanks to Alison Kosik. Now coming up, you are watching here comedians Dave Chappelle and Jon

Stewart there in Dayton, Ohio, where crowds have gathered for a concert benefiting the families and survivors of the August 4th shooting tragedy that happened in that city. It's a star-studded night of surprise guests.

Plus, the lungs of the planet on fire -- word that 43,000 Brazilian troops are now helping in that fight against the fires in the Amazon forest and we are getting a bird's-eye view.

These are the live pictures of the CNN town hall in New York where in less than an hour, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio will take the stage right here on CNN.

[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: New tonight, we are getting an impressive and highly disturbing bird's-eye view of the damage being caused by the fires raging in the Amazon Rainforest. So let's go straight to CNN International Correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh.

Nick, you are in Brazil. You went on an aerial tour over that fire line. What were you able to see?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Three hours we spent over the worst hit part of the Amazon, Alex, seeing the sheer devastation these fires are causing. Now, it's remarkable actually because a lot of the time the aircraft we're in had to stay higher than it wanted to, to get away from the sheer density of the smoke.

We turned the air vents off inside the aircraft. Often it made it hard to see what damage had already been done below. But then when you come across the fires, they are distinctive, they are raging, sometimes in a simple straight line going all the way across the open plain or through the forest themselves.

What's amazing to see, Alex, is exactly how much damage mankind has managed to do to this extraordinary forest in a short time. A lot of the places we've seen had been deforested in just the past year or so. And these fires, we were told, and we hear from police too, are actually part of that process of gathering the land up, so to speak, for agricultural purposes.

But sadly as we went, we didn't see many humans. We saw a lot of cattle. Part of the problem here, they're being fed on the land or being fed soy grown on the land in order to feed us beef -- a huge part of a growing world population's diet. And we saw very little wildlife sadly.

I saw only one bird in the air in what should be a natural paradise. We also too, didn't see much evidence in the air as we went to with the freshest burning fires of, in fact, the Brazilian military. The 43,000 troops which President Jair Bolsonaro says he's dispatched.

We see their planes flying in the sky here around us and we've seen video of them dropping water wherever they can. But, my god, it's an incredibly difficult task ahead of them here. Just what we saw was hard, frankly, to fathom to get your head around.

How much of the forest can burn so fast and how anyone could possibly imagine putting that out by human hand? Was it caused by human hand? That's what a lot of the lines clean as they were in the forest seem to suggest.

This is an enormous global task. Brazil has just accepted Israeli help. Will it accept further more? Potentially, Donald Trump's help as well? We'll have to see. These fires are not going out, though, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Those fires now incinerating what have been called the lungs of the world that produce some 20 percent of the world's oxygen. Nick Paton Walsh in Brazil, thanks very much.

Now, Prince Andrew of the U.K. is speaking out about his longtime relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Hear how the British royal is trying to clarify what he says he saw during his time with the ex-financier.

And as we are going to commercial break, comedian Dave Chappelle right now revving up the crowd in Dayton, Ohio. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO)

DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Because we know we're from O-H!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: I-O!

CHAPPELLE: Shout out to Kanye West for being here this morning. I've got friends that flew in from all over this country to be here today. They didn't ask for a dime or dollar. They're just here to tell the city that --

(END VIDEO)

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Great Britain's Prince Andrew is now speaking out about his friendship with the accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, denying that he knew of any criminal activity going on. Here's his statement.

He writes, "I met Mr. Epstein in 1999. During the time I knew him, I saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year. I have stayed in a number of his residences. At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction."

His statement comes after the "MailOnline" published video purportedly showing the royal prince inside Epstein's mansion in New York in 2010. That's two years after Epstein first pleaded guilty to sex crimes.

Epstein took his own life in a Manhattan jail cell about three weeks ago. Since then we've learned that jail protocols requiring routine checks on Epstein's well-being weren't followed. All that brings us to our weekly segment "Cross-Exam" with CNN Legal

Analyst, Elie Honig. He is a former federal and state prosecutor and he's here to answer your questions about legal news.

Elie, we're going to cover a bunch of topics. Right now we're getting more viewer questions about where the criminal investigation goes from here.

Now that Epstein is dead, one viewer wants to know, what kind of evidence are investigators looking at relating to Epstein the death, and could there be criminal charges against anyone who worked at the Metropolitan Correctional Center?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Alex, we learned this week the Justice Department investigation of Epstein's death in the MCC is continuing and Attorney General William Barr gave us a little hint of where things may be heading when he told us that he was seeing serious irregularities inside the MCC.

[17:35:01] That may turn out to be an understatement. In terms of what evidence they're looking at, the short answer is everything. They have the autopsy showing that it was a suicide. I guarantee you they're looking at every frame of surveillance video they have from inside that prison.

They are likely looking at Jeffrey Epstein's calls and e-mails made from the MCC. And yes, MCC prisoners do have e-mails. That's a fairly recent development. And they're also looking I'm sure at the MCC's paperwork showing what guards were on duty. Were they doing their assigned checks?

Now, the big development this week is we learned that the Department of Justice has served subpoenas on various MCC employees. And that tells us something really important. That tells us the Justice Department is doing more than sort of a re-creation, a look back. That means there is a criminal investigation going on.

When you are a prosecutor and you serve a subpoena, you have to actually fill out a blank saying what specific criminal statute you are investigating. So, that could relate to falsification of documents by guards. We don't know. We'll find out. But we know that the stakes have gone up significantly.

MARQUARDT: Elie, I want to switch gears to gun safety. Of course, many students all across the country are going back to school this week. Safety is at the top of mind for many districts, for many parents, for many students themselves.

In Fruitport, Michigan, a high school there is being built with curved hallways, impact resistant windows and new locking features on the doors to try to thwart a mass shooting. So, one viewer is asking, do we need new, tougher laws to prosecute mass shootings or other attacks on the general public? What do you think?

HONIG: So, under federal law, Alex, the term domestic terrorism is defined but oddly it's not a crime. So the law defines domestic terrorism to mean any act or criminal act of violence that's intended to intimidate or terrorize a civilian population or political leaders.

And the law says if there's a domestic terrorism situation, federal agents have expanded investigative authority, but prosecutors don't have a domestic terrorism statute to charge. And that's a big problem because it could create a sort of federal loophole.

We do have federal laws that are applicable to many types of mass attacks. We have hate crime laws that make it a federal crime to commit an attack because of somebody's race religion, national origin. We do have explosives charges. We saw those in the Cesar Sayoc, the pipe bombing cases.

And we do have foreign terrorism laws that make it a crime to commit acts in connection with foreign terrorist groups, Al Qaeda, ISIS. But there is still a little bit of wiggle room there. It would not be a federal crime under our current laws if somebody committed an act because of political reasons or just seeking to terrorize that did not use explosives, that used a firearm for example.

So, there's a bit of a hole there. There are going to be state laws that apply, but federal laws usually carry a heavier penalty and it's really important the Justice Department federal prosecutors have a way to prosecute all of these mass attacks. Domestic terrorism can really fill that hole.

MARQUARDT: All right, Elie Honig, thanks so much for breaking that all down for us.

Now, coming up, why the words of Senator John McCain still resonate one year after his death.

Plus, live pictures from tonight's CNN presidential town hall event where Montana Governor Steve Bullock and the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are getting ready to take questions from the audience. That will start at 6:00 eastern time tonight here on CNN.

[17:40:00] (COMMERCAIL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Hundreds of people turned out today in Hampton, Virginia, for what was called a day of healing which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the first landing of enslaved Africans in the English colonies. Bells across the country ringing out for four minutes to mark four centuries of African-American history. Of course, it's a history that still haunts much of this nation. And as CNN's Natasha Chen reports, it's a history that won't be forgotten.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say something thanking them for their sacrifice.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the same spot where about 20 captured Africans arrived four centuries ago, people whispered prayers to them and to the ancestors who did not survive the voyage, sending thoughts floating with flower petals into the Chesapeake Bay. QAHIR ABDUR-RAHMAN, ATTENDEE: The ghost of the past is still alive

with us today and you could feel it as you walk around and look at the backdrop here.

CHEN (voice-over): Under the backdrop of Fort Monroe, people felt what shackles would have been like and took pictures at this historic marker where the ship "White Lion" arrived. Asia Leeds, co-director of African Diaspora Studies at Spelman College says this wasn't the first group of Africans in America. There were others already taken to what were then Spanish, Portuguese and French territories. But this does mark the first arrival to English North America.

ASIA LEEDS, CO-DIRECTOR OF AFRICAN DIASPORA STUDIES, SPELMAN COLLEGE: It marks a beginning of the foundations of this nation of which slavery is deeply embedded. So we have the beginnings of not just U.S. governing systems, right, that emerge out of this colonial history, but also the foundations of American wealth.

CHEN (voice-over): And now, African-Americans can be part of that wealth in spite of continued struggles of inequality.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, we're engineers, lawyers, doctors, presidents, maybe a future female president. But we've come a long way.

CHEN (voice-over): And while they look at the traditions that made them who they are, the next generation is also looking at what their world could be.

BRYCEN DILDY, STUDENT, LARKSPUR MIDDLE SCHOOL, VIRGHINA BEACH: Imagine the problems that would be solved if all people were kind and felt cared for. It doesn't matter what your race or religion may be. We all deserve kindness.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can we talk about where we're going? And can we talk about what is necessary to get there? As we look at the next 400 years.

CHEN (voice-over): Natasha Chen, CNN, Hampton, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Natasha Chen for that report.

Now, he was a fashion icon, a design genius, ahead of his time. Tonight, tune in for the all new CNN film about the rise and fall of "Halston." Here's a quick look.

[17:44:56] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is success fun?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sure, it's fun and it's not fun and as my mother says, it's the price you have to pay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most successful individual in the history of American fashion, Halston.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Halston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Halston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I made it in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His clothes danced with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halston felt that he had to design everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rugs, sheets, perfume, shoes, bags, gloves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came like a king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knew how to get publicity. The problem was he began to believe it all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the all-time optimist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took Halston to Studio 54.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He fell in love with it right away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They lived out a lot of their fantasies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drugs, sex and rock and roll.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: St. Louis has consistently ranked as one of America's most dangerous cities and this summer, there is growing outrage over the number of children who have been fatally shot simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The city is now offering $100,000 in rewards for information about these shootings. The latest victim was an 8-year-old girl. She was shot and killed Friday night at a high school event.

[17:50:00] She was the fifth child, less than 10 years old to be involved in a deadly shooting in St. Louis since April. Authorities are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in four of these cases.

The city's m3ayor says it needs the help because conventional policing tactics are not enough. The offer stands through September 1st. Officials are hoping that the deadline will spur anyone with information to come forward and act immediately.

Meantime, another mid western city continues to grapple with its collective trauma. It's been three weeks since the Oregon district shootings in Dayton, Ohio. And right now, as you can see there, thousands are gathering at a benefit concert organized by long-time Ohio resident and comedian Dave Chappelle.

List of celebrities on the performance list include Stevie Wonder and Kanye West, and that's just for starters. The tickets are free but organizers are hoping that people will be generous with donations -- the proceeds benefitting the families and survivors of the August 4th shootings.

And on the ground there, we find our CNN Correspondent, Polo Sandoval. He is there with the latest. Polo, what are people saying about that remarkable event today? 3

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, I certainly hope that you'll be able to hear me because it is certainly electrifying in downtown Dayton. Just three weeks ago I stood on this very spot, reporting to you and the rest of CNN viewers what had just happened in the early morning hours of that day when nine people's lives were cut short when that gunman walked through downtown Oregon District as its known, this arts and entertainment district.

Here we are though, three days later and this massive concert as you put it, put together by Ohio's adoptive son, Dave Chappelle, who took the stage just a while ago, not only meant to revitalize this section, but is to live through a serious nightmare, but also for many of the victims of mass shootings across the country which he said as he took the stage only moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHAPPELLE: Today we're going to show the world that nothing will get us 3down. Dayton, Ohio, no matter what's going on, no matter how tough these times get, we hold our heads up high, because we know we're from O-H!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: I-O.

CHAPPELLE: Shout out to Kanye West for being here this morning. I've got friends that flew in from all over this country to be here today. They didn't ask for a dime or a dollar, just here to tell the city that they love you. And we're not just doing this for our city. We're doing this for every victim of every mass shooting in our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: American singer, musician Thundercat wrapping up on stage, Alex. It is a long and fascinating lineup for the next several hours here. But again, what you keep hearing from people here, it's about this tribute not only to the victims, the families of those nine people who died, but also the survivors who are still struggling with the emotional and those physical wounds.

And again, as you heard it today, Dave Chappelle essentially bringing this together. You and I may know him as a comedian and an actor. Many of these people know him as a neighbor.

MARQUARDT: All right, our thanks to Polo Sandoval. Hopefully a little bit of joy and levity after so much sadness and tragedy in that city. Our thanks to him. And we'll be right back.

[17:55:00] (COMMERCAIL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: It was one year ago today that the country said good-bye to Senator John McCain. The fighter pilot, father, war hero, and maverick, who in life, as in death, was also looked to as an symbol of integrity and basic human decency. This morning, his wife of 38 years, Cindy McCain, spoke about her life without him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

333CINDY MCCAIN, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Oh, there are so many things I miss about him. I think most of all was his voice of reason.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I wonder for you, you got married when you were 25 years old. And you were with John McCain for almost four decades, and I wonder, what have you learned about yourself in this year since he passed away?

MCCAIN: Well, I think the first lesson is that I can survive. You know, losing any loved one is always traumatic, but he was such a force of nature. I've had to learn that not only will I survive, but that I can move forward.

If we can convey anything that John McCain stood for on this one-year anniversary, that would be acts of civility. He was the guy on the floor that would cross the aisle. He would work with others, you know. He was very passionate about what he did.

And I would like to remind people of those qualities and offer the opportunity for people to do just the same. Go seek someone who perhaps you disagree with vehemently or maybe someone that you, you know, that you've never really liked. But go talk to them. Maybe agree to disagree.

KEILAR: What do you think he would say if he saw the current state of American politics right now?

MCCAIN: I think he would be very disappointed. In fact, I know he would be. He would be saddened by the digression that these conversations and these debates have taken, and also saddened that we're so disoriented within the world right now. You know, we had time to talk before he died and he was very frustrated with what was going then and I think now he would be even more frustrated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Before John McCain's death from brain cancer, he wrote a letter, expressing his hopes for the future. Here is part of what he said, "We have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenges times.

We will come through them stronger than before. We always do. Do not despair of our president -- our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history."

[17:59:59] Some of John McCain's final words. I'm Alex Marquardt. Don't go anywhere. It is time for back-to-back live CNN presidential halls with Montana Governor Steve Bullock followed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at 7 p.m. It all starts right now.