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CNN Live Event/Special
Meadows Surprises, Takes Stand In Election Interference Case; Judge Sets Trump Trial Date One Day Before Super Tuesday; Sheriff Releases New Videos In Racist Killings; Lieutenant Antonio Bailey Shares How He Responded To An Armed Suspect; Author Ibram X. Kendi Reacts To Ramaswamy's Comparison; Abby Phillip Talks About The March On Washington. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 28, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Some areas of the gulf coast could see 10 to 12 feet of storm surge and that mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been issued for at least eight counties on Florida's west coast. We have continued to monitor it and will continue to update you as that storm progresses.
Thank you so much for joining me tonight. CNN Primetime with Abby Phillip starts right now.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Hey, Kaitlan, thank you very much. And good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip.
Joining me tonight, a smart round table on a surprise legal twist in the Trump indictments.
The Jacksonville Sheriff will be here on the racist attack there, as well as the hero security guard who chased down the shooter.
Plus, the family of the fallen soldier who Fox News just apologized to over a false story.
And Ibram X. Kendi will respond to Vivek Ramaswamy, who called him the grand wizard of the modern KKK.
But, first, Mark Meadows, he took a big risk today by taking the stand. Donald Trump's former chief of staff is charged in efforts to overturn election results in Georgia, and now he's arguing that his case should go over to federal court instead.
And today, there was a mini trial of sorts, one that many legal experts have said may have put him in deeper trouble.
CNN's Jessica Schneider is here to tell us what happened in that hearing today. Jessica?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Abby, we're now waiting for the federal judge in Georgia to decide if Mark Meadows' case can be moved to federal court. Meadows testified for several hours today and he tried to make the case that everything he did was within his official duties as chief of staff for Trump. He talked about that infamous phone call to Georgia's secretary of state, where Trump, of course, asked Raffensperger to find him more votes.
Meadows excused the call, saying that Trump believed that there was fraud in Georgia and he was trying to come up with a way to resolve the issues without going to court.
Now, Raffensperger himself also testified and he called this kind of outreach from a president's chief of staff setting up the call extraordinary, in his words.
So, we'll see which way the judge rules and if Meadows can get his case out of state court. Abby?
PHILLIP: Yes, very much important developments today, Jessica. Thank you and stand by for us.
Here with me in the studio is former GOP congressman and host of the White Flag podcast, Joe Walsh, also, Wall Street Journal White House Reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, Associate Professor of law at Georgetown University Vida Johnson, and former Federal Prosecutor Gene Rossi.
I want to start with the lawyers at the table, both of you. So, Gene, the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, testified today as well. He was on that infamous call, Trump is looking for his 11,000 votes. What do you think his testimony will mean for Mark Meadows' overall argument? He basically said the call was political and what Trump was asking him was inappropriate.
GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, the thing he did that really hurt his case is he said that he was acting at the behest of Donald Trump. And you can complain about how a bank handles your money but you can't rob it. So, what Donald Trump did is he devised a scheme to affect the electoral vote and he brought Mark Meadows in to help him execute the scheme.
The other thing that Mark Meadows did that came out of that hearing is he violated the Hatch Act. And you cannot, under any circumstances, claim color of law if you are violating the Hatch Act. So, he shot himself in the foot twice.
PHILLIP: But he's saying everything that I did, broadly speaking, was part of my responsibilities because it's the president of the United States, anything that he wants goes.
ROSSI: Well, it has limitations, but the Hatch Act says you can only do certain things even as a chief of staff. So, when he tries to make the argument that he's acting under a call of law, and that's how he gets into federal court, he can't make that argument because he is violating the law when he's working for Donald Trump.
PHILLIP: So, Vida, Mark Meadows on the witness stand today, a mistake or a strategy? VIDA JOHNSON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: I mean, it certainly makes me want to cringe as a defense attorney. I mean, he was subject to cross-examination. He was on the stand for hours. And the defense doesn't know what the prosecution has in this case. The prosecutors do. And so they were able to cross-examine him with an eye towards the trial. And anything he said could be used against him at that trial. So, risky move for sure.
PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, from the political view of, Sabrina, what is Trump thinking and seeing when they see this all unfold?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that they are watching this very closely. Meadows is not the only one who is looking to have this -- their case moved to a federal court. And so I think when you look at the strategy from Meadows' team, yes, it's a big gamble because he is a defendant in a criminal matter. Putting him on the stand opened him up to cross-examination.
But the idea here, this is according to Meadows' team, is that federal law prohibits states from prosecuting U.S. officials who are carrying out their official duties. And so if they can get it moved to federal court, they will try and argue that Meadows is immune to the charges against him.
And they're also trying to draw on a more diverse jury pool than the heavily Democratic Fulton County. And so I think people are going to be watching the judge's decision here very closely and seeing if that strategy bears fruit, because you may see some of the other co- defendants try and follow suit.
But it is a very broad interpretation of the scope of a chief of staff to just say, well, I'm just a gatekeeper, almost positioning myself as secretary. I had to be on every meeting. I had to be on every call.
And you have that up against the very powerful testimony of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who said, no, I viewed this as campaign activity. I found it inappropriate. And the federal government does not have a role in certifying the results of a state's election.
PHILLIP: I think Meadows' attorney, at one point, described Meadows as Trump's alter ego. It's just bizarre way to describe it.
But, I mean, look, the Raffensperger piece of this, it's just such a stark reminder that -- but for a few people of conscience, where would this have all gone?
FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): Oh my god, Abby, that phone call, that phone call. I mean, to be Trump's chief of staff is almost to violate the Hatch Act, because now Trump demands --
PHILLIP: Well, I mean, that's actually Mark Meadows' argument.
WALSH: Yes. And team Trump will be watching this, Abby, because they want to move it up to the federal court as well.
But, no, Meadows knew exactly what he was getting into when he signed up to be Trump's chief of staff. And now this is just coming home to bite him in the rear end.
PHILLIP: One of the interesting things, Gene, is that Meadows denied some very specific parts of the allegations against him and the indictment that he was a part of a meeting in which he and Trump asked a staffer, senior staffer, John McEntee, to draft a plan for what would happen on January 6th.
He said he doesn't remember that meeting happening, or doesn't recall. That is a very specific denial, it seems to me, given that I would assume the prosecutors would have some evidence.
ROSSI: Oh, absolutely. And when I tried my prosecutor's cases as a prosecutor, one of the things I used to love is when someone said, I do not recall, when you have evidence that they could not possibly have forgotten what happened.
And here's the other thing that came out of that hearing that was very subtle. The prosecutors are holding back evidence that is not in the indictment. And there was one email that was used on cross- examination, and they are holding back.
So, this indictment is not the fulsome expose of everything they have. So, they are lying in wait with evidence, text messages and emails that is going to come back to haunt Mark Meadows at all at the trial.
PHILLIP: And now they have a window, as you were kind of pointing out earlier, into what the defense counterargument is going to be. In some ways, it could be a gift to the prosecutors that this trial is happening.
JOHNSON: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is just not the kind of thing that experienced defense attorneys do. I mean, it's just such a risk for the defense this early on in the case.
PHILLIP: Well, everybody stand by. We have a little bit more that happened today in all these legal developments. We're also learning that a trial date for Trump's federal election interference trial, it will collide with the peak of the Republican primary season.
I want to go right back to Jessica Schneider. Jessica?
SCHNEIDER: Trump's attorney, Abby, is telling the judge that six months is just too fast for him to provide proper representation for the former president. The judge, though, essentially scolded that attorney, John Lauro, for not doing more to prepare when Trump's team knew the special counsel was investigating and knew that there was an indictment likely coming. So, now, the trial start date is set for March 4th, 2024.
Now, prosecutors are saying they've already handed over nearly 13 million pages of documents, but also saying that Trump's team should be familiar already with the majority of these documents and should be able to review what's left relatively quickly.
So, this March 4th trial start date, it could slide, but likely not by much. Abby?
PHILLIP: Very fascinating. Thank you, Jessica.
And back to the table here. Judge Chutkan is not messing around here. She's like, we're going to get a date on the calendar, okay, and everybody is going to be ready.
Do you think that that date is appropriate, though? I mean, this is a very significant and a very sprawling case.
ROSSI: Okay. I'm from the rocket docket, EDVA, where things move with alacrity. So, the March 4th date doesn't alarm me.
I will say this in favor of Donald Trump.
There is a ton of discovery, a ton. And I respect Judge Chutkan's trying to set a deadline of March 4th for the trial. However, I predict you're going to have motions in January and February that are going to push that trial date back just a little bit.
So, if I had to bet money and I don't bet a lot of money, I'm looking at June, maybe May for this trial.
JOHNSON: Well, I just think it's fascinating. I mean, this is not some overworked public defender who's defending Donald Trump. This is -- you know, we know that Trump has raised tens of millions of dollars for his legal defense. So, I think it's hard for the defense to argue here that they don't have the resources to go through this discovery.
PHILLIP: Although, we're talking about maybe, what, 12 million documents?
JOHNSON: Well, the government did identify several hundred pieces of evidence or pages of documents that they described as a roadmap to their case. I mean, that's not something that I've ever had the prosecutors do in my cases. So this kind of seems like he's getting a little bit of an advantage with that roadmap, kind of seeing what the government's case is going to focus on.
ROSSI: I do want to say one thing. Yes. To compare Donald Trump to the Scottsboro Boys and Powell versus Alabama, that's beyond, beyond. And that's a case involving nine teenagers, African-American, accused of raping two white women, one of whom were candid. They had trials in about a week of being indicted. And to say that Donald Trump is similar to those kids who were prosecuted, that to me is classic chutzpah.
PHILLIP: That's the kind of thing that clearly could inflame a judge that you don't want to not be on your side in a case like this.
I mean, speaking of some questionable decisions from Trump team, this is coming at a time in the calendar that puts its smack dab in the middle of the primary season and literally a day before Super Tuesday.
SIDDIQUI: Look, I've spoken to Trump aides who acknowledge that this is going to be a challenge for the former president because these court appearances and legal proceedings, there's no way around the fact that they will take Trump off of the campaign trail at critical points in the Republican primary calendar.
And so they are looking into what some other ways may be that he can connect with voters, maybe through virtual events or tele-town halls.
Now, what we do know, and we already are seeing the beginning of that, is that the trial is very much going to become the heart of his re- election campaign, his grievances, this idea that he is being politically persecuted despite all of the evidence detailing his activities and his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
I mean, the Trump campaign has already been fundraising off of these indictments, off of every development. And, look, he has not suffered in any capacity with respect to Republican primary voters. If anything, he has such a commandable lead.
That's the primary. Of course, it's going to be a very different matter when you have the side-by-side of former President Trump sitting in a courtroom and President Biden on the campaign trail talking about the economy in a general electorate, it could tell a very different story.
WALSH: That's the point. Trump's legal fight is his campaign. Him sitting in a courtroom is going to be him campaigning. And every Republican I've talked to today has said election interference. They have screamed election interference. And this just adds to that narrative that the entire justice system is ganging up on Trump. I think, politically, this helps him in the primary big time.
PHILLIP: Although, let's be honest, I mean, the race could be over by the time we get to -- I mean, before we get to Super Tuesday even, effectively. So, voters may not even have the benefit of seeing this trial go to its conclusion.
SIDDIQUI: And, frankly, the only thing that appears to move some Republican primary voters is the possibility that he's convicted, but I don't think a conviction would come until the nomination has already wrapped up.
So, it would really be about how independence and suburban voters, who were critical to Biden's victory in 2020, view the charges against him and the outcome of the trial in a general election.
PHILLIP: The information they have now might be the information that they have going into the voting booth.
Thank you all very much for being with us tonight.
And up next for us, new video showing the Jacksonville shooter before his racist attack at a dollar general store. I'll speak with the sheriff of Jacksonville next, and with the security guard who confronted the shooter outside of a historically black college. He joins me now on what he saw and how he prevented further bloodshed.
Plus, Republican Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy defends his comments on white supremacy and comparing some on the left to black people to modern KKK.
PHILLIP: Chilling new details tonight in that racist attack in Jacksonville, Florida. In just moments, I'll speak with the sheriff on the investigation as well as the hero security guard who chased down the gunman.
But, first, new videos show a white gunman made a stop at Edward Waters University and a family dollar, both before going to the dollar general, armed with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun. That is where he killed three black people.
Tonight, Jacksonville mourns 52-year-old Angela Michelle Carr, 19- year-old Anolt Joseph A.J. Laguerre Jr., and 29-year-old Jerrald Gallion.
I want to bring in now Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters. Sheriff Waters, thank you very much for being here. I know how difficult of a time this is for your community. We appreciate it.
SHERIFF T.K. WATERS, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Thank you for having me and I appreciate it.
PHILLIP: We were just discussing these videos that really start to paint a picture of what was going on with the shooter. He made multiple stops and even got ready for these attacks in public. Is it possible that he wanted to be seen before carrying out this awful attack? Do you have any sense of the why here?
WATERS: I wish I did. I can't tell. I wish we could have, you know, been able to figure this out.
We can't tell what his intentions were. All we can do is surmise from based off what we've seen, is that he had an intention to, I think, and this is what our detectives think, we all think this is collectively, that his initial target was going to be that first store he stopped at.
I mean, he waited there for a very long time. He could not. I don't know whether, seeing that security vehicle from first call (ph) security stopped him. I believe that's what it was. He did not want to face anyone that would create some sort of issue for him. He was looking for innocence.
PHILLIP: He was looking for people perhaps that he didn't know or that wouldn't confront him. Is that what you're saying?
WATERS: That's correct. I don't think he wanted to have any confrontation with someone that would create an issue for him or stop him from doing what he wanted to do.
PHILLIP: That's interesting and obviously very disturbing.
You've also said that the shooter had a chance to shoot at people at the university, that historically black university in Jacksonville. Can you tell us more about what your investigation has found about why he didn't if he had the opportunity?
WATERS: I think he had a goal in mind. When you -- based off what we've been able to find, he worked at Dollar Tree. He went to another family dollar store, Kings and Myrtle. Then he left there, went and got changed at EWU, our local HBCU, and then left there to go to Dollar General. I think he wanted those stores, one of those stores. I don't know why. I can guess, but I don't know why.
PHILLIP: The suspect also left behind writings to his parents, the media, federal agents. What can you tell us about those writings? What do they say or reference that would help us understand what his mindset was going into this?
WATERS: They say quite a bit. They are very foul. They are filled with a lot of hate-filled language towards many different races of people, but primarily against blacks. He did not like anything. He didn't like the government. He didn't like Republicans. He didn't like Democrats. He didn't like -- he thought the system was a complete failure. He didn't like the LGBTQ community. He didn't like anything.
He even mentioned some other groups that I think there's been speculation that he's connected to. He mentioned those groups. He didn't like those groups. So, he was just a very confused, but pointed and driven and determined young man.
PHILLIP: So, you mentioned other groups. Are you saying that there were sort of broader groups that maybe people might assume share his views that he specifically mentioned that he did not associate with? What are those groups?
WATERS: He did. He mentioned one in particular that wears Hawaiian shirts. That's all I'll say. He didn't like that group. He mentioned that group. And like I said, he was just not confused. He knew what he believed. He wasn't confused. He was just ramblings, organized ramblings. It's the best way that I can describe it.
PHILLIP: I know that, obviously, this moment that your community is in pain, but there's been a lot of reaction at the national level. One has come from a presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy. He recently dismissed this idea of white supremacy. I want you to take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reality is we've created such a racialized culture in this country in the last several years that right as the last few burning embers of racism were burning out, we have a culture in this country largely created by media and establishment and universities and politicians that throw kerosene on that racism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: This is obviously an attack that was targeted at black people in a predominantly black part of your community. You are also a black man. What's your response to that?
WATERS: I mean, clearly, there's racists. I mean, we know that. I mean, I believe 100 percent there's racists. Now, do I believe our country is full of people that want to kill each other because of who we are, what we believe our religion? I don't believe that. I've been in this community for a very long time and that's not representative of who we are.
But there are outliers. There are people who don't like other people for their race, for being black, for being Jewish, for being whatever religion. That exists. White supremacy, maybe he was. I believe he was by listening to what he said and the things that he wrote down. And I do know that those things exist, or those people exist.
But as a whole, in this city, I believe we're a great city. I believe we're great people. I believe that when I went to a prayer vigil yesterday, there were people from every walk of life that were there.
There was a Jewish rabbi that was there. There were white people that were there. There were black people that were there. And this division that you hear about so much in our country, I'm sitting in rooms full of all sorts of people every single day that we look at each other. We take care of each other. We're going to continue to do that.
PHILLIP: Yes. And our hearts continue to be with your community. And in these moments, it's sad what has happened, but we see the goodness in people when they come together in times like this.
Sheriff T.K. Waters, we appreciate you. Thank you very much.
WATERS: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
PHILLIP: And up next, the hero security guard who confronted that Jacksonville shooter while he was at Edward Waters University. Lieutenant Antonio Bailey joins me in just a moment.
PHILLIP: Edward Waters University, a historically black college, and the first in the state of Florida, was one of the stops that the Jacksonville gunman made before going on his deadly racist rampage.
Now, while he was at that university, he was confronted by a security guard, Lieutenant Antonio Bailey.
Many now say that those actions by Lieutenant Bailey may have helped avoid further catastrophe that day, and he joins me now. Lieutenant Bailey, thank you very much for being here.
ANTONIO BAILEY, EDWARD WATERS UNIVERSITY SECURITY GUARD: You are very welcome. I'm glad to be here tonight.
PHILLIP: And we're grateful to you for what you've done in this situation that could have potentially saved lives. The students at the university alerted you at first about the suspect being on that campus. What led them to flag you down to confront him?
BAILEY: Well, they advised that they seen him putting on tactical vests, putting on gloves, masks, hats. So, they advised that we needed to check that vehicle out.
PHILLIP: And when you got to the scene, just describe for us, what did you see? What was the suspect doing? Where was he?
BAILEY: At that time, we was actually sitting inside of the same parking lot of said suspect. When the students alerted us at that time, we did try to make contact with the suspect. He was inside of the vehicle at that time.
PHILLIP: And did you ever see him outside of the vehicle at all? Did you ever have any communication with him at all?
BAILEY: I did not see him outside of the vehicle. He was inside of the vehicle at the time that we was alerted.
PHILLIP: So, was it clear to you in that moment that this was someone who was on his way to commit an act of mass violence?
BAILEY: At that time we did not know what his intentions were. We just knew that he was, we was alerted that he was on campus putting on tactical clothing and gloves.
PHILLIP: And as he was leaving, you all pursued him for some time. Were you alerting the Jacksonville Sheriff's Department at the same time about this person that you saw?
BAILEY: At the time that we were behind said suspect, we was just trying to get as much information. We knew that he was not supposed to be on the university campus, especially being in tactical gear. So, we just wanted to get as much information as we could about the vehicle description, tag information, any information that we could get at that time so we could relate to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. We was actually communicating with our private emergency dispatch center at that time. PHILLIP: Yeah, and what did you tell them?
BAILEY: We was just telling them that we have a suspicious person on campus that was getting dressed in tactical gear and letting them know that we was actually trying to get more information at that time.
PHILLIP: Yeah. Do you think that he would have launched a rampage at the school had you not been there to confront him?
BAILEY: That, I cannot say. I have no idea of what was going through his mind at that time or what his intentions were.
PHILLIP: Now, we do know that he had an AR-15 style -- assault-style weapon with him. It was marked up, you know, from what we've seen with just racist symbols. As you think about that and what could have been, do you -- do you think that you would have been prepared to confront someone like that while on duty?
BAILEY: When we come to work every day, we are prepared for what is to come. When you put the uniform on as security and or law enforcement, this is what we signed up for, to protect others.
PHILLIP: All right, Lieutenant Antonio Bailey, thank you very much. And I know that the students on that campus are grateful that you were there for them that day. Thank you.
BAILEY: You're welcome.
PHILLIP: And up next, Vivek Ramaswamy is under fire tonight for downplaying white supremacy and claiming that a black lawmaker and the author of a very popular anti-racist book are the ones actually pushing racism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These are the words of the modern grand wizards of the modern KKK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Well, that man, Ibram X Kendi is here to respond. Plus, a Gold Star family of a marine that was killed in Afghanistan getting an apology from Fox News over a false story.
PHILLIP: You've been hearing a lot about him because he has been rising in the polls and Vivek Ramaswamy also recently suggested that he wouldn't have certified the election results in the way that former Vice President Mike Pence did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMASWAMY: Here's what I would have said. We need single-day voting on election day. We need paper ballots, and we need government-issued I.D. matching the voter file. And if we achieve that, then we have achieved victory. And we should not have any further complaint about election integrity.
In my capacity as president of the Senate, I would have led through that level of reform, then on that condition certified the election results, served it up to the President, President Trump then signed that into law, and on January 7th declared the reelection campaign pursuant to a free and fair election. And that was a missed opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: For those familiar with Schoolhouse Rock and separation of powers, the vice president has neither the authority to send legislation directly to Congress nor does he have the authority to just simply deny election results. But it is notable that since 2020 -- 2022, Vivek Ramaswamy seems to disagree with 2023 Vivek Ramaswamy.
In his book just last year, he mocked Trump's election lies. He called his arguments weak. And he said that reasonable Republicans don't believe that the election was stolen. And on the question of the vice president specifically, he wrote, quote, Mike Pence, a man I have great respect for, decided it was his constitutional duty to resist the president's attempts to get him to unilaterally overturn the results of the election. He goes on to write, our institutions did hold in the end, but they shouldn't have been tested.
Now meantime, that's not the only thing that Ramaswamy is getting attention for. He also has gotten quite a bit of backlash after calling a black Democratic congresswoman a modern grand wizard of the modern KKK at a stop in Iowa on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMASWAMY: Ayanna Pressley, she's in the Congress today, she's a member of the Squad. Her words, not mine. We don't want any more black faces that don't want to be a black voice. We don't want any more brown faces that don't want to be a brown voice. Literally word for word, I'm not putting any words in anybody's mouth. Ibram Kendi wrote the book, "How To Be An Anti-Racist". I wrote "Woke Inc.", it was a pretty successful book. His sold more copies than mine. Here's what it says -- opening lines, "The remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination."
So, the other side will gaslight you when you say this stuff. It's like, oh, you're just making that critical race theory stuff up. No, no. These aren't my words. These are the words of the modern grand wizards of the modern KKK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: The man he's talking about there, Ibram X. Kendi, joins me now. He's the author of, as Mr. Ramaswamy was saying, "How to Be an Anti-Racist" and he's also the Director of the Center for Anti-Racist Research at Boston University. Ibram, thanks for being here. I want to get just your reaction to what you heard him saying there comparing you and Congresswoman Pressley to the modern grand wizards of the KKK.
IBRAM X. KENDI, AUTHOR, "HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST": I just think it's incredibly dangerous. The Ku Klux Klan is the oldest and quite possibly most violent white terrorist group, really a terrorist, domestic terrorist group in American history. They have engaged in generations of violence against black people, against Jews, against all sorts of groups they don't agree with. And they have also expressed ideas of racial hierarchy and white supremacy, ideas that I and Congresswoman Pressley have repeatedly and constantly challenged.
So, it's incredibly dangerous, especially in this moment, where, you know, all sorts of reports point to white supremacists as the greatest domestic terrorist throughout our time to be comparing people to them that have spent their lives challenging them and actually who the Klan hates, because the Klan really doesn't like me.
PHILLIP: Look, yesterday on CNN's State of the Union, Ramaswamy was pressed about this, and pressed about the violence of the KKK and how that could possibly compare to anything that you or Congresswoman Pressley have said. But he said that he wanted to provoke a, quote, honest discussion in this country. So just help us here. I mean, what would an honest discussion on race in this country, in this moment, actually look like?
KENDI: I think we would start with racial disparities and inequities. We would identify the evidence that points to, for instance, let's say black people are more likely to be impoverished or incarcerated or killed by police or dying of heart disease and cancer. And we would also recognize that there's nothing inferior about black people as a group. So, there must be policies and practices that are leading to those disparities. And as Americans, we should come together to identify and eliminate those disparities. That's an honest conversation based on evidence and based on notions of racial equality.
There's a difference of opinion, I think, here between you and Ramaswamy about whether it requires actively, you know, addressing racial wrongs in order to address them in the future. But that kind of rhetoric from him doesn't seem to be part of that conversation. I do wonder though, I mean this is happening on the campaign trail, right? He's one of several candidates of color in the Republican race, but he's doing really well and is making these arguments at a particular moment for him in this race.
Why do you -- do you think that this is a part of why he is doing so well right now?
KENDI: With your question, unfortunately, you have too many candidates, particularly Republican candidates of color, who recognize that one of the ways in which they can sort of boost their political appeal to right Republicans is by telling them that they are not racist, and then turning around and attacking those who are pointing out racism as the real problem, as the real racist.
And, you know, we have seen candidate after candidate be boosted, particularly candidates of color, by essentially feeding white Republicans their denial. And that's all Vivek is doing. He knows that. And the irony is, that is based on racism. And it's based on his skin color. At the same time, he's claiming racism is no longer an issue.
PHILLIP: Ibrahim X. Kendi, thank you for joining us tonight and responding directly to all of that.
KENDI: Thank you for having me.
PHILLIP: And coming up next, a bogus story from Fox News forcing the network to apologize to a Gold Star family of Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee. She was killed in Afghanistan and her family joins me live, up next.
PHILLIP: Fox News is now issuing an apology to a Gold Star family after facing backlash over a false story that it published last month. Fox claimed that the family of fallen Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee had paid $60,000 to ship her remains back from Afghanistan because the Pentagon refused to pay.
Now, Sergeant Gee was killed in a terror attack along with 12 other service members at the Kabul airport back in 2021. And in a statement, Fox said, quote, "The now unpublished story has been addressed internally and we sincerely apologize to the Gee family." That apology comes after a report on Military.com drew attention to the story and it also indicated that Fox's top executives had repeatedly been notified by senior members of the Marine Corps that it was publishing a fabricated story.
I want to bring in now the mother-in-law of fallen Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee, Christy Shamblin. Christy, thank you very much for being here. Just help me understand this. I mean, first of all, did you hear from Fox directly? And are you satisfied with what they've said about what happened here?
CHRISTY SHAMBLIN, MOTHER-IN-LAW OF FALLEN MARINE SGT. NICOLE GEE: Yeah, we -- I heard from Fox directly and spoke with them and I am --
PHILLIP: Who did you hear from?
SHAMBLIN: I couldn't tell you. I'm so sorry.
PHILLIP: I'm so sorry, yeah.
SHAMBLIN: Yeah, these things aren't common for me, so I don't remember specific names. But I think it was a really good example of people with the very best intentions getting misinformation and crossed facts. And I feel like the answers are coming out, and that's appreciated. We just want transparency and honesty.
PHILLIP: So, if I am understanding this correctly, there is a policy that requires family members or fallen service members to pay upfront for funeral transportation if they go to a second location, but the Pentagon would reimburse them and in your family's case you didn't pay anything.
PHILLIP: How did your -- you know, how did Nicole's story get mixed up in what just seems to be a narrative here that is false?
SHAMBLIN: You know, in the process of transporting her remains after we received her at Dover, it was confusing and hectic. And once we got her to her hometown of Roseville, California, where she was honored by all of her family and friends and teachers and people that she grew up with, we as a family became aware that we would need to pay for her transport to Arlington as my son had chosen to lay her to rest there.
And we were fortunate enough to have a non-profit we were working with, Step In, who had a private donor who donated his time and services. So, no bills were ever received, no money was ever paid. There was no refusal by DOD to pay a bill because we never had a bill. My hope in bringing it up was so that future families wouldn't have the worry at the time of trying to figure out how to transport remains.
PHILLIP: It's been two years, actually, two years, two days ago since you lost Nicole. And I can feel it. It's still a fresh loss for you. But you're here in Washington for a reason. Tell us what you still want to see come out of the tragedy that happened to her.
SHAMBLIN: I want to see positive change. Nicole was an advocate for positive advocacy and for a positive mental attitude. And I believe we could do better. There's going to be more evacuations. We're going to need to rescue more people. And I want our armed services to be safe doing that. And if we can do anything to make those processes work better next time, that's my aim, is to make a better process forward.
PHILLIP: What else would you like people to know about your daughter- in-law?
SHAMBLIN: She was an amazing encourager. She always wanted every single person to just be the best that they could be given their current circumstances. She really was an advocate for a positive mental attitude and I try hard to bring that forward to everybody.
PHILLIP: You do honor her. Thank you very much, Christy --
SHAMBLIN: Thank you.
PHILLIP: -- for being here. And coming up next for us, it's been 60 years since the March on Washington brought us some of the most powerful words in history. But it wasn't just those words, it was also the music that was just as influential. The sounds that brought the nation together and inspired musicians in the generations to come, that's up next.
PHILLIP: Sixty years ago tonight, hundreds of thousands of Americans of all races marched on Washington, calling for equality for black people and fighting against hate. They spoke the words of hope and they sang the music that still transcends. From "Blowin' in the Wind" to "We Shall Overcome", those lyrics, just as poignant, the struggle just as real. That song -- that includes songs inspired by the march, as well. Soul legend Sam Cooke was motivated by the crowds. The speech and the dream when he wrote one of the most iconic civil rights anthems in American history. It's one that's been covered over and over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: I can't hear that song without getting chills. Laura, it's --
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Oh my God. PHILLIP: -- especially today, especially in this week. Today, I should
say, Laura, is also the anniversary of the killing of Emmett Till. It's a really heavy week, but also when you hear that, those words are just timeless and we need it now.
COATES: It's so poignant. I mean, honestly, I'm a huge fan of Sam Cooke. I always have been between "Twisted the Night Away" all the way to the poignance of that.
COATES: But I always think about the "Malcolm X" movie with Spike Lee, and there's that infamous scene when you have that sort of film cue that Spike Lee does and he's watching somebody move and that's the song that they're pulling him along to the streets as he's about to become assassinated. I think about all those different moments and you're right. Not only was that the issue but Abby, tonight's also the day that Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the Supreme Court justice and for an icon and role model like that. It's unbelievable.
PHILLIP: The echoes of history. Laura, have a great show. Thank you. Good to see you.
COATES: Thank you so much. We're going to talk more about all that later.