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Defense Attorney Complains About "Black Pastors" In The Courtroom; Nazi-Looted Van Gogh Painting Fetches $35.8 Million At Auction; CNN Reports: Colorado Town's Fight To Stay Green Under Siege. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 07:30   ET



REV. WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH, CO-CHAIR, POOR PEOPLE'S CAMPAIGN: A NATIONAL CALL FOR MORAL REVIVAL, PASTOR, GREENLEAF CHRISTIAN CHURCH (via Skype): It's a bizarre comment by a lawyer who doesn't really have a case because his own clients had their actions -- their killing, their lynching filmed and videoed, which is strange in and of itself.

But I want to take another look at it. This is really not about an attack on Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, or me. The most exciting thing yesterday was Black and white, and brown people marching together. We led a march and a protest outside.

We don't need -- and we don't need to make it about that this lawyer doesn't have a case so he wants to make preachers the issue, and I'm not taking the bait. First of all, I'm not a Black pastor; I'm a pastor. I'm not consecrated as a Black bishop. I'm consecrated as a bishop.

But this -- what he said is actually a Godsend in some ways for America because it exposes a way of thinking. Blackness means intimidation. Blackness means intimidation. He wants to -- and so, by saying that and opening his mouth, he exposes that he sees blackness as a threat.

And so, these men that killed Ahmaud, a young electrician that just wanted to give his mama and daddy the kind of house that they dreamed of -- they were right to do what they did because they -- when they saw his blackness, they saw someone who had to have done something. They saw intimidation.

Remember, this is the Deep South. Notice he did not say pastors; he said Black pastors. And what we must focus on is why would he specifically use blackness in here and connect it to intimidation, because that's at the heart of this case?

These men should be heroes. They should be seen as protectors of the community. And the only reason they stopped this young man, Ahmaud, was because of his blackness.

And blackness in this sense is seen as a threat, automatically intimidating. In some instances, in the white supremacist mind, blackness, particularly, with a Black man, means a beast, an animal. Forgive me -- it means a nigger. It means somebody who automatically is a problem.

He did not say pastors; he said Black pastors. And we as Black pastors don't need to take this personally because of our skin color, because I'm not a Black pastor; I'm a pastor.

We need to interpret this for America. This is a -- this is a very teachable moment. Blackness is a threat. That's what got Emmett Till killed, Tamir Rice killed, George Floyd killed, Tawana Brawley. That's what got people killed -- blackness being seen as a threat.

And now we know, lastly, it's not just something in the hands of a racist cop. It's not just something at a racist rally. But even in the mindset of defense lawyers, blackness is intimidation automatically and needs to be stopped, needs to be purged, needs to be put out, needs to be barred.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I also wonder, you know, as this -- as this trial is playing out you also have the Kyle Rittenhouse trial playing out. And I wonder what you think of this theme that runs through both of them of wannabe white vigilantism. You know, what do you think --


KEILAR: -- about that?

BARBER: Well, when you think deeply about it, it's as -- it's as old as the racist mindset in this country.

I was talking to some white people in the march yesterday who asked us to come back, and I was there at the invitation of one of the lawyers in the family. We were talking about that. You know, it's reminiscent of the slave patrols. It's reminiscent of those who believe they just had a right to be violent.

You know, we are -- we live in a country where lynching was once a community affair where killing Black men was something that people did and took pictures around it. I mean, you look at some of the photos from the past.

And when we see this kind of attitude in the midst of all of the racialized rhetoric we've seen from places as high as the White House, and this sense that we are protecting our way of life -- it's in the politics. You know, that's what Make America Great is about. We've got to protect our way of life. We've got to save America. We've got to stop fraud (ph).

And this lawyer put it out there because blackness is the issue. If it's black, it's intimidating. It's a problem. And then people feeling like they have a license.

I mean, I don't think most Americans realize these killers filmed this. They never thought that they would be seen as criminals. They filmed it for history. They filmed it for future generations.

They filmed it to be shown. Look at what we did to protect you. Look at what we did.

And they didn't -- never saw brother Arbery's humanity. Automatically, his blackness, like the lawyer said, was intimidating and was a problem.


And this is a problem for America, not just for Black people. That's why one of the things I think is that not only should pastors come en masse maybe, but every day. I've had already -- already had some calls from people who happen to be white -- from some rabbis from Oman (ph). And said you know what, we need to sit in there as just as people of faith -- maybe three a day, every day -- and not let this lawyer, because he doesn't have a case, twist this all up.

There's a problem in America where the racist mindset believes there needs to be some kind of purging or something to preserve the American way of life. And it's not new and it's very dangerous.

And that's why I don't want this to be about me. It's not about me or Jesse or Al, or any other preacher. It is about something deeper. Black pastors -- blackness being a threat and being a problem, and something that is worthy of being put out, purged, and destroyed.

KEILAR: Yes, it was rhetoric of another era, no doubt.

Reverend William Barber, thank you for being with us this morning.

BARBER: Thank you. Take care.

KEILAR: Just ahead, how a Van Gogh looted by the Nazis could now help the heirs of the Jewish families who lost it to the Nazis.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, people in a Colorado town that went totally green now fighting to keep it that way.



BERMAN: A Vincent van Gogh watercolor called "Wheat Stacks," which was once stolen by the Nazis, just sold for more than $35 million at auction. That is a record for the artist's work done on paper.

Joining us live from in front of that record-setting painting a Christie's auction house here in New York, is Marc Porter, chairman of Christie's, America.

It goes without saying it's beautiful and captivating, like all of van Gogh's work. Thirty-five million dollars -- where does that money go?

MARC PORTER, CHAIRMAN, CHRISTIE'S, AMERICAS: The money goes to a group of people, including the family of the family of the heirs from whom it was stolen by the Nazis twice. Once, as a result of the forced sale in 1938, and then again when the Germans conquered Paris in 1940. And then finally, the family who bought it in good faith in the 60s and -- who never knew about its prior history.

BERMAN: Talk to us about the history of this. You just touched on it. It was actually sold twice more or less -- or stolen twice more or less by Jews. What happened?

PORTER: Well --

BERMAN: Stolen from Jews, by the way.

PORTER: First of all, I want to thank you --


PORTER: Thanks. And I -- and it's especially -- it's a special honor to follow William Barber talking about justice and the pursuit of justice. Because restitution questions about works of art is an expanding field that is about looking at the history of what happened during the Nazi occupation of Europe.

This particular picture has a very complicated history. It has -- what we've learned about before and we've seen in things like "The Monuments Men" -- a seizure by the Germans when they conquered Paris of the best cultural property in that particular city. There was a special unit in the army that did nothing but that -- that newer works of art were -- stole them immediately and then either kept them for high-ranking Nazis or sold them abroad for currency.

And there's a developing area of the law called forced sales or sales under in which the world is now looking at sales that took place not through seizures -- not through direct seizures but rather, sales that took place because families were trying to raise assets in order to fund their escape from the Nazis.

This painting had both. It was sold in 1938 by the Meirowsky family who fled Germany for Switzerland. And then it was stolen from the Rothschilds by the Nazis and not returned after the war. It finally resurfaced many, many years later when the Cox family of Texas bought it -- again, without any knowledge whatsoever of what had happened to it before.

BERMAN: I'm so glad you laid that out. That's one of the things -- the reasons I find this looted art by the Nazis so fascinating, and the tragedy so fascinating, and the Jews who suffered so much. Because, yes, these families can get some money now. But in a way, they can never be made whole from what happened here. It's just this gross injustice and we have this physical embodiment of it now to remind us.

PORTER: The primary motivating factor for many of these families is the acknowledgment of what happened to their families. There are cases where the amount of money involved is very insignificant. There are cases where they're not commercial objects at all. But the heirs and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren reconnect with a family history that they'd only known vaguely before. And the tangibility, as you said, of these objects is what makes it so powerful.

BERMAN: I find it to be very powerful. I find the painting to be beautiful and I find the story to be so important. And I do appreciate you keeping on explaining to the world what happened and keeping this history very real. Appreciate it.

PORTER: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, delegates to the COP26 climate summit have drafted a new agreement saying the world should aim to limit global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius, and acknowledging how fossil fuels impact the climate.

Here in the United States, one Colorado town was ahead of everybody. It went totally green, but staying green is proving to be a challenge.

CNN's Bill Weir here with that story. Great to see you.



And I found this neighborhood of the future with homes that are built so clean and so well they save a couple of hundred dollars a month on power. Their utility bill, $6.00 a month. But what's happening in this town might be proof that your local zoning commission or city council will have way more power over the future of life on earth than all the delegates at COP.


WEIR (voice-over): While they fuss and fight in Glasgow over the path to a carbon-neutral world, this gentleman knows how hard you have to fight just to build a net-zero neighborhood.

DAR-LON CHANG, GEOS COMMUNITY RESIDENT: I pay about $6.00 dollars every month for electricity.

WEIR (voice-over): Dar-Long Chang is an energy pioneer battling to settle the greenest community in America, called Geos. Conceived as a clean energy utopia in the Denver suburb of Arvada, original plans called for nearly 300 homes all powered, heated, and cooled only by what radiates down from the sun and up from the earth.

RANIER GERBATSCH, GEOS COMMUNITY RESIDENT: On a day when it's like 10 degrees outside and you have the windows open by 11:00 or so. You have close to 70 degrees in here.

WEIR (on camera): It's very toasty in here.


NORBERT KLEBL, ORIGINAL DEVELOPER, GEOS COMMUNITY: Look at this. Our homes are offset. This is south. WEIR (voice-over): It's all the brainchild of an Austrian engineer named Norbert Klebl, who first staggered the plots in a checkerboard so that each tightly-constructed home, free of drafts and leaks, would get maximum free heat from the sun.

KLEBL: We harvest the Colorado sun in the wintertime. And when the sun is low down there it floats in here and heats up the entire house.

WEIR (voice-over): This means you need fewer solar panels to power the house and your cars, and eight hours of battery backup. Since gas stoves can create the same amount of indoor pollution as living with a chain smoker, and since natural gas is mostly made of planet-cooking methane, rule one of Geos would be no gas -- all-electric.

KLEBL: So, this here is the geothermal unit.

WEIR (voice-over): Using liquid to bring up energy from the earth's hot core, this machine heats and cools the house with virtually no pollution.

CHANG: If you do go down to the core of the earth, it's as hot there as it is on the surface of the sun.

WEIR (on camera): It's closer -- it's right there.

CHANG: Yes. Yes, it --

WEIR (on camera): It's always on.

WEIR (voice-over): Dar-Lon believes geothermal will be the energy of the future and he should know. He spent over 15 years as an alternative fuel engineer at ExxonMobil.

CHANG: I saw no reason why we weren't using the drilling technologies we were using at ExxonMobil to drill for hot rocks rather than drill for oil and gas.

WEIR (voice-over): But the company wasn't moving away from fossil fuels fast enough for his sense of urgency. And he says when hurricanes knocked power from his Houston home and his homeowner's association banned solar panels, he quit, packed, and moved to the greener pastures of Geos. The 28 completed homes with goats instead of lawnmowers felt like proof of a better way.

But then Norbert was forced to sell the rest of Geos in a divorce settlement. And despite their fierce objections, the new developer is now installing gas lines for the next phase of homes.

CHANG: The story of my neighborhood being a failed experiment in building without gas pipelines is not only false but it also endangers the transition away from methane gas needed this decade to prevent runaway climate change.

WEIR (voice-over): Since the Arvada City Council pledged to encourage more renewable energy a decade ago, Dar-Lon put on his no gas-holes shirt and along with neighbors, asked for their intervention. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got homes that need to be converted that

already exist. But the job here with the next phase of Geos has already been done for you.

WEIR (voice-over): But so far, officials refused to help Geos stay gas-free. It's a lesson that while over 100 nations led by the U.S. are pledging to drastically reduce methane emissions, all building codes are local. And small towns worry that forcing a clean transition will bring lawsuits from big oil and gas and their favorite lawmakers.


WEIR: We've seen so many indications John that the oil and gas industry is not going gently into that goodnight. They are fighting communities who want to keep that product out even if the consumers want it.

So, right now, their best hope, the Geos folks tell me, is market demand. If enough folks come forward and ask the new developer no, keep it out -- I'll buy a house if you keep the gas out -- they'll follow the money.

And the other thing that's interesting is those houses are so tightly- constructed, like an Energy Star house in the United States, it changes all its air every three hours. Those, it's every 12 hours. But there's a bottleneck of the skillset for guys who know how to build like that, but those who do are going to make a lot of money because this is the future.

BERMAN: You would think there would be people who would want that enough to move in there and maybe make it sustainable economically like that.


WEIR: But that's the thing. Like, the machine in that guy's basement cost about $14,000 after all the rebates. When you put that in your mortgage the savings from energy helps pay for the mortgage. So, there's no real upfront cost if you do it financially.

But this is the decision -- this decision will last for 50 years. When you buy a new car it's maybe 10 years you're going to get out of that. But putting in gas now in this neighborhood means 50 years from now they'll still be burning it.

BERMAN: What a story. Thanks so much for going there, Bill.

WEIR: Thanks, john.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

Breaking this morning, new audio of Donald Trump defending the threats to hang former Vice President Mike Pence during the insurrection.

KEILAR: And the man who used to be Donald Trump's White House chief of staff has about two hours to answer to Congress or face contempt charges.



BERMAN: An Iraq war veteran turned trauma into song. The music is helping other veterans do the same in today's "The Human Factor."


JASON MOON, FOUNDER, WARRIOR SONGS (Singing): When I close my eyes, I hear a voice from deep inside.

MOON: I was in Iraq for 11 months. It was when I got home and tried to reintegrate that I started to notice that I wasn't who I was. I couldn't be in crowds. I was always watching every door. I felt weak, ashamed. And I hadn't been able to write songs for almost five years because of all the pain when I started trying to write songs about it.

MOON (Singing): The child inside me, long dead and gone.

MOON: That's when I started getting e-mails from other veterans going dude, I'm -- this is exactly how I feel. And that's when it -- my healing really begins.

Warrior Songs is a nonprofit that uses the creative arts to help bring healing to veterans. We take a songwriter and we put him with a -- with a veteran. They take the trauma and they transform it into the song. What happens to the veteran is nothing short of a transformation because they've had a trauma that they couldn't express.

We've worked with about 250 veterans in the songwriting, and we've given services to about 50,000 veterans through the free C.D.s we give away. When they spoke their truth, it lives on beyond them and it's actually getting into the darkest places.


KEILAR: CNN -- or pardon me, Sunday marks the finale of the CNN original series "DIANA," which is a series that looks at the legacy of the people's princess through a modern lens. And the last episode deals with her shocking sudden death in a car crash.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The news came through to Balmoral directly from Paris from our ambassador out there, Sir Michael Jay. I think Charles was in absolute shock that this had happened. He felt immediately of their sons, obviously, and there was personal grief as well. This was a woman he had loved. But there was also this feeling -- oh my God, I am going to get blamed for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The marriage was over but he still felt a huge obligation towards her, mainly in the shape of his sons who were sleeping just a few yards away. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The queen and Prince Charles got up and talked

together and discussed whether they should tell the boys. And I think quite rightly, Charles decided that what was the point of waking the boys right now. We don't know -- we don't know the truth of it. We'll wait until the morning.

He chose, I believe, to talk to William first, his eldest, which is understandable. And together, they then went and told Prince Harry who was just 12.


KEILAR: And joining me now is the host of CNN Audio's "When Diana Met" podcast. Aminatou Sow is with us. Episodes for her podcast are premiering on Wednesday and you can hear them on CNN Audio or anywhere that you listen to your podcasts.

Aminatou, I know that this is an amazing series. People are going to love this series. And I just wonder what we can look forward to for the finale on Sunday.

AMINATOU SOW, HOST, CNN AUDIO'S "WHEN DIANA MET" PODCAST: I think that you can look forward to revisiting a moment you think you know very well. And the emotions are still pretty high.

And we are also just living in an incredible time where we are reckoning with the legacy with which we treat women in public. And I think that the series examines that in so many ways.

But the Diana story ends in a tragedy and I think that is a moment that a lot of people remember very vividly.

KEILAR: So, it's really a different lens -- looking at her through a different lens. Tell us about that.

SOW: Yes, the podcast is looking at Diana through a different lens when Diana met and our concept is really revisiting some key meetings that she had. But so much of her story focuses on tragedy and what we are trying to do with this podcast is really have some more grounding smaller moments. She was really someone who I think a lot of people think they knew. But she died so long ago and she died so young, and we have so little accounting in her own words of what her life was like.

KEILAR: So, the meetings you mentioned. Your latest podcast focuses on Diana's first lunch with Camilla Parker Bowles. Tell us, was there anything that stood out to you there?

SOW: I mean, the first time I heard about this meeting I thought it was a -- it was a troll. The meeting happens at a restaurant called Menage a Trois, which is too on the nose.

KEILAR: Oh, wow. Because she said there were three in the marriage, so --

SOW: I mean, that is the -- that is the understanding of that relationship. But I think that even today, with a lot of hindsight, I know that I certainly have.