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CNN NEWSROOM

Search Focuses on Area Near Burglarized Cabin; Charleston Community Unites in Wake of Massacre; Pressure Grows to Remove Confederate Flag; President Uses N-Word to Make Point on Race. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 22, 2015 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:02] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: It felt that way but they just -- they did a lot of cards. There was a lot of card drawing yesterday.

PEREIRA: Happy birthday, love.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There should be flags, there should be parades.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We'll continue our tier-tech parade but "NEWSROOM" for Carol Costello starts now.

CUOMO: Carol Costello should call herself Alisyn for the entire day.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Start it out, Alisyn.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm a little nauseated but happy birthday, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Carol. Thank you.

CUOMO: See you, Alisyn.

COSTELLO: NEWSROOM starts now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Happening now in the NEWSROOM. Charleston unified. Thousands marching, praying, singing together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My heart is as broken as all the people in our community, white and black.

COSTELLO: As we go inside the church shooter's alleged manifesto. A gun in one hand, a Confederate flag in the other. Why confessed killer Dylann Roof calls himself brave.

Also, a new tip in the hunt for those two escaped killers. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have never thought in a million years I

would have seen them out here.

COSTELLO: A manhunt heats up as police question another prison employee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two people are psychopaths. They are master manipulators.

COSTELLO: How close is too close for employees and inmates?

Then, do not mess with Taylor Swift. No bad blood between her and Apple after she shamed the company into paying artists for their work.

Let's talk. Live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: And good morning. I'm Carol Costello. Thank you so much for joining me.

We begin with breaking news in the search for those two cold-blooded killers on the run. More than two weeks after inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from prison, police are now focusing on an area near a burglarized cabin in Franklin County, New York. That's about 25 miles away from where those inmates broke free.

An official telling CNN a witness who was checking on a cabin on Saturday saw a man run out the backdoor and into the woods. Officials now warning residents to their lock their doors.

In the meantime we're learning new details about a second prison guard who's been placed on administrative leave including that he also had a painting from Matt hanging in his home.

Let's get more from CNN's Sara Ganim. She's on ground in Owls Head, New York.

Tell us more, Sara.

SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. Yes, we're in an area just about 30 miles due west of where that prison is where those two inmates escaped. Authorities, search teams converging on this area yesterday in the evening and night hours. We saw hundreds of vehicles -- at least a hundred vehicles here. ATV units, all-terrain vehicles, also tactical units.

The district attorney this morning telling me the lead that led to that search coming to this town. He said that on Saturday a witness was going in to check on a vacation home, a cabin here that was unoccupied and saw a man ran out the backdoor into the woods. He told me it was obviously burglarized, this cabin, and based on that information this search commenced here.

This is an area called the Mountain View area. It's off of a road called Wolf Pond Road. The district attorney telling me, he said, quote, "I think the law enforcement here feel that this is potentially one of the people, that being one of those inmates. Like I said all terrain vehicles, tactical units, all coming here. This is an area in the Adirondacks of upstate New York. So there's a lot of biking trails, hiking trails, a lot of vacation homes, unoccupied cabins.

Those are places that the searchers have been focused on since the beginning of this now more than two week search for these men and that's where things stand here this morning -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Sara Ganim, reporting live for us this morning.

Also a note for you. Tomorrow CNN takes a deeper look into the New York prison manhunt now in its third week. It's a CNN Investigation, that's tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

In Charleston, South Carolina, a study in contrast. A few days after the church massacre, a grieving community comes together and the hateful ramblings of a killer spew out. Investigators dissect the 2,000-word racist manifesto linked to confessed gunman Dylann Roof.

CNN's Alina Machado live in Charleston this morning with more for you.

Good morning.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol. The focus here in Charleston all weekend has been on healing and remembrance. Even though that racist manifesto surfaced over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MACHADO (voice-over): Lone wolf mass murderer Dylann Roof behind bars this morning awaiting his bail hearing for murder charges set for October.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your age?

DYLANN ROOF, SUSPECT IN CHURCH SHOOTING: Twenty-one.

[09:05:01] MACHADO: This as investigators are looking into a 2,000- word racist manifesto on a Web site registered to the suspect, written before Roof killed nine people during a bible study inside Charleston, South Carolina's historic Emanuel AME Church. The author writing he became fixated on the idea of, quote, "black-on-white crime," after Trayvon Martin's death. His online search led him to the online propaganda of the Council of Conservative Citizens.

There he found, quote, "pages upon pages of these brutal black-on- white murders." It's not clear what incidents he was referring to. The manifesto continues, quote, "Someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world. And I guess that has to be me."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got to use this heartbreak in a most positive way. How we can be better, how we can do more.

MACHADO: In Charleston Sunday, marchers joined hands to form a unity chain in memory of the nine victims. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only love can drive out hate.

MACHADO: On Sunday morning, church bells rang throughout the historic city. Inside the Emanuel AME Church, the theme was healing, not hate.

REV. DR. NORVEL GOFF SR., 7TH DISTRICT AME CHURCH: We as a group of people can come together and pray and work out things that needs to be worked out to make our community and our state a better place.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MACHADO: Now the funeral for Reverend Clementa Pinckney is expected to take place right here in Charleston on Friday. Funeral arrangements for the other victims of this terrible massacre could come this week.

Meanwhile it's worth noting that the Council of Conservative Citizens is condemning the killings but they're still standing by the inflammatory information or content that is in their Web site -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Alina Machado reporting live from Charleston this morning.

As black and white people show unity in South Carolina, the Confederate Battle flag still flies on the capitol grounds but maybe not for long. Republican state lawmaker Doug Brannon will introduce legislation to remove the flag in January. One month before South Carolina's presidential primary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOUG BRANNON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Personally I believe -- I have believed for years that it needed to be in a museum. In fact, the state has what's called the Confederate Relic Room. I think that's where it needs to be.

And quite frankly, Poppy, I apologize to the people of South Carolina. I've been in the House for five years. I should have introduced this bill five years ago. I should not have let my friend -- we shouldn't be having this conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Brannon talking with CNN's Poppy Harlow. Brannon's bill and the ensuing vote should make for an interesting Republican primary. Mitt Romney has already turned up the heat when he tweeted, quote, "Take down the Confederate flag." President Obama tweeting back, "Good point, Mitt." Other Republicans running for president skirted the issue.

But let's talk about the Confederate flag and whether it should still be on the South Carolina's capitol's grounds.

Greg Stewart is a 20-year member of the Mississippi division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Joe Lapointe is a former writer for both the "Detroit Free Press" and the "New York Times."

Welcome to both of you.

GREG STEWART, MISSISSIPPI DIVISION, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: Good morning.

JOE LAPOINTE, FORMER STAFF WRITER, DETROIT FREE PRESS: Hello.

COSTELLO: Greg, you spearheaded an effort to keep the Confederate Battle flag on the Mississippi state flag, why?

STEWART: Well, that was in 2001, and the policy makers then had an effort to get around the public on the vote and the main point of it was to allow the people of Mississippi to have a vote and they did. In fact, we carried precincts and counties that no one would have known that we would have carried but we carried them by a wide margin. And that's the way to do it, is to give it to the people.

COSTELLO: Well, I will add because I think it's important to let all the information out there. That there was a huge lobbying effort in the state of Mississippi. Lobbyists donated, what, some $600,000 or more to get this thing passed?

STEWART: We didn't spend that much. The proponents that wanted to change the flag spent probably something in that neighborhood, but we did not.

COSTELLO: Well, but a lot of people put a lot of money into keeping the Confederate Battle flag as part of the Mississippi state flag.

I'm just curious, Greg, do you think that the Confederate flag should come down in South Carolina?

STEWART: Well, that's a South Carolina issue and the people in South Carolina should be allowed to vote on that. I have two children that attend college in Charleston and so I'm in Charleston at least four times a year, and in fact, my son who will be in his senior year, his roommate is black. So I don't know where all the vitriol comes from and it's certainly not related to the Roof massacre. This cowardly attack that he carried out.

[09:10:06] COSTELLO: You mean the flag is not associated with the massacre in South Carolina?

STEWART: No. I'm saying this cowardly attack by this Roof fellow is not attached at all to the Confederate flag. I mean, he's attached it but he's obviously a lone wolf. And that's -- your own reports are saying that right now, that he's a lone wolf. He's got mental problems and he may even have some cognition problems, too, just because --

(CROSSTALK)

COSTELLO: We don't know that. We don't know about his mental state at all.

STEWART: We don't know that. Right.

COSTELLO: We have no doctor's report. We don't know that.

STEWART: Right. But it seems like we're running off in a direction. We're actually doing what Roof would have us do and get involved and embroiled in shouting matches about banners and honor and none of that is going to solve any problems. You couldn't take down all the flags and solve the problem that really is driving all this.

COSTELLO: All right, Joe, you wrote an op-ed in the "Detroit Free Press" and I'm thinking you do not agree with Mr. Stewart. You write in part, quote, "In that South Carolina will never willingly take down the flag, the Confederate flag, the time has come for opponents to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech and burn the Confederate flag at the state capitol in South Carolina, in front of the White House, in front of FOX News, or maybe even outside the Grand Ole Opry."

Please expound.

LAPOINTE: Well, first of all, Greg says he doesn't understand where the vitriol is coming from. The vitriol is coming from slavery and civil war and the continued insult to African-Americans of having the battle flag of Northern Virginia over their heads when they walk to work in the state capitol of South Carolina.

And just one slight correction, my story first appeared in the "New York Observer" on their Web site and then the "Detroit Free Press" picked it up and others did, too.

When I said we should burn the Confederate Battle flag I meant it as a peaceful protest. We shouldn't burn other people's flags. We should get our own and burn them. It is the flag of the American Swastika, and everyone knows what it means. It has nothing to do with heritage or pride. It has to do with white supremacist viciousness. And that's what we saw last week in the church in Charleston.

COSTELLO: Joe, do you think that this young man was inspired by the Confederate flag to go into that church and shoot nine people?

LAPOINTE: Well, judging by the fact that he put pictures on his Web site waiving the Confederate flag, judging by the fact that he had a confederate flag on his license plate, I would say there is a correlation of some -- some sort.

COSTELLO: And, Greg, I'd like you to respond to that because for many people the Confederate flag doesn't have anything to do with heritage. It's all about observing a time in our history that many feel we should be ashamed of well.

STEWART: Well, I will agree. A lot of people have their own opinion about that flag. It is internationally recognized as a flag of challenging authority and different people like this disturbed young man made it something to himself. I noticed also in the pictures that he had an affinity for the United States flag. And so that's going to continue --

(CROSSTALK)

LAPOINTE: No, he burned it.

STEWART: Right. Different people have --

LAPOINTE: He did not have an affinity for the United States flag.

STEWART: Different people have different --

LAPOINTE: No.

STEWART: Different people have different interpretations of the flag and his is wrong. And with Sons of Confederate Veterans, if you want to know what we do, is we attend to cemeteries and we honor the ancestors by just taking care of the cemeteries. That's what we're about. So this -- it seems like it is disrespectful to the nine lives that were tragically lost to go off in this direction when we have the answers right in front of us.

And I read your article, Mr. Lapointe, and we can agree on some things. I don't think that this will end the debate. And I don't think we need to debate the Confederate flag anymore. That's not the problem.

COSTELLO: Greg, can I just ask one last question?

LAPOINTE: No, it won't end the debate.

COSTELLO: Let me ask Greg one last question, Joe, if you will.

Do you think an African-American person would feel comfortable going into someone's home who is flying the Confederate flag, you know, on their home?

STEWART: Well, I can just speak for my own experience. I'm also the executive director of Beauvoir, which is Jefferson Davis' home in Biloxi and we have a church service every Sunday, we have for many months now. And the preacher is black. And his ministry is dedicated to veterans and they actually sit -- it's a mixed congregation and they meet every Sunday. And they sit in the exact same pews that the Confederate veterans who live there when that home was a Confederate veterans home -- they sit in the same pews.

[09:15:02] So, I think the answer is in Jesus --

COSTELLO: I'm talking about the flag, though. If you have the flag hanging outside your home, do you think an African-American person would feel comfortable coming over for dinner?

STEWART: I do. If the results from the --

COSTELLO: Really?

STEWART: Yes. If the results from the Mississippi election are any indication, many black Mississippians voted for the flag. I would tell Joe that -- I want to remember this. The most successful supremacists are the ones you would never suspect. They're not going to -- they're going to pat you on the back but they're playing you, Joe.

COSTELLO: Joe -- last words, Joe?

LAPOINTE: OK. The last word is Lindsey Graham is the senator from South Carolina. If he really wants to be president he should have moral and political courage by urging his fellow South Carolinians to take down the flag, put it in a museum where it belongs and stop insulting African-Americans by flying it over their heads on state grounds.

COSTELLO: And I'll have to leave it there. Thanks to both of you, Greg Stewart and Joe Lapointe. I appreciate it.

STEWART: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM: President Obama speaking candidly and bluntly on race in the United States. Yes, the president went there. He used the N-word, and he said it outright. We'll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: The word is so ugly, it is taboo, at least for most people, especially the president of the United States. But President Obama went there. On comedian Marc Maron's podcast "WTF", that's what's it's called, he was making a point about racism still existing in the United States and the president used language that many consider offensive.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow and that's' still part of our DNA, that's passed on. We're not cured of it.

MARC MARON: Racism?

OBAMA: Racism, we are not cured of.

MARON: Clearly.

OBAMA: And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. We have -- societies don't overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COSTELLO: All right. Let's talk about this. With me now, Sara Murray, CNN political reporter, and Goldie Taylor, senior editor and columnist for "Blue Nation Review".

Welcome to both of you.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, BLUE NATION REVIEW: Good morning.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Thanks for having us.

COSTELLO: Good morning.

Goldie, what was the president trying to say?

TAYLOR: I think the president was being instructive. I think he was talking about the difference between the kind of covert the racism we don't see on the street and then overt racism. That isn't always sort of embodied in wonder we use the n-word.

You know, back in LBJ's time, Lyndon Baines Johnson, you know, we had a 1957 civil rights bill that he called -- and I quote, "the Negro bill". He used the word liberally. He was kind of sore of the word, changing its pronunciation, depending on whose company he was in. And we know that former President Nixon also used the word, sprinkling it liberally among other divisive language.

But when we talk about our president, specifically an African-American president, using it in an instructive way, I think the meaning -- the word takes on a brand new meaning, the word has no more meaning that how just in its syllables. Its meaning is held in its context, who says it, when they say it, and why.

COSTELLO: Sara, do you think people will get that?

MURRAY: Well, I think there are some people who will be put off by this. It's hard for me to judge how President Obama wants to use the word. He's the first black president. He lived experiences that you and I cannot understand at all.

And he's making a good point. It's not enough to just say we don't use these words in public. It's about how you think. It's also about how you behave. And I think that's kind of what he's trying to say.

I think that's why we're having the argument now about the Confederate flag whether there should be streets in South Carolina named for confederate generals, because there's a sense there's an overt racism in this country that we're more uncomfortable talking about.

COSTELLO: And, Goldie, the president seemed comfortable talking to Marc Maron. It was like he was having a conversation with a friend of his or next door neighbor.

TAYLOR: I found him, as I said before, I found him to be instructive. You know, the Confederate means something different, you know, if it is flying above a state house, as opposed to it being flown inside of a museum and being used as a learning tool. I think that's what the president was after. I'm sure of it.

You know, when I was coming up, my people from Spadra, Arkansas, and from Tunica, Mississippi. The word was used like a drop comma in a high school term paper. It was just a regular course of language among the adults in our family.

Now, sure now, that sort of tampered off now over the years as we have grown as a family, but it was certainly a part of our language. It was never used, you know, in terms of being something that was divisive or hurtful. It was a term of affection used among my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

And so, context really does matter here, and whether it is said by a Klansman in Mississippi, or my black grandmother in St. Louis, Missouri, or the president of the United States in a radio interview, it means something different from place to place.

[09:25:02] I think that people recognize that, and that anyone who would use the president's uses of the words in this context is simply looking to exploit for their own malicious games.

COSTELLO: And, Sara, it is interest to note, in context with the president's use of the N-word, that the organization that inspired the Charleston, South Carolina shooter, contributed to previous campaigns of Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum among other politicians.

Ted Cruz says he'll give the money back, why accept money from the Council of Conservative Citizens in the first place when it routinely maligns black people by saying things like they are the laziest, stupidest, and most criminally inclined race in the history of the world?

MURRAY: Well, this is something that came out every night. And I think the reality is, these candidates are not scrubbing every single person who writes them the check. And so, when we get the comment from the Ted Cruz campaign, they said they were just realizing the connection last night. They're working hard to give the money back.

When we reached out to Rand Paul's camp, they said they're going to take the donation they get from Earl Holt, who ran the head of the organization, and they want to give the money to a fund that has been set up to benefit the victims in Charleston.

So, it's pretty clear that the candidates want to get as far away from this as they possibly get.

COSTELLO: All right. Sara Murray, Goldie Taylor, thanks so much. I appreciate it. It's a tough conversation but an important one to have. I appreciate it.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM: a possible break in the search for the two cold-blooded killers. Officials now chasing yet another new lead that those inmates, and, of course, we told you earlier that the inmates may have burglarized a cabin in Upstate New York.

CNN's Alexandra Field is on the ground.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Carol, as the search heats up yet again in northern New York, investigators are also talking to a correction officer who worked in the prison that the inmates escaped from. We'll talk about that coming up after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)