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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CNN Sources: Trump 'Without Regret' After Off-The-Rails Remarks; U.S. Military Leaders Condemn Racism After Charlottesville Violence; Vigil And Peaceful March In Charlottesville. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 16, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: -- that they had to actually turn away people. I asked him exactly how many people attended. He said, 300, so not that many.
[21:00:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Where do us gays get to go?
GRIFFIN: I don't know.
COOPER: Do we get our own group or what?
GRIFFIN: Well, you have to work that out amongst yourselves, I guess.
COOPER: OK, all right.
GRIFFIN: Anderson, I didn't want to just bring in one other note, "The New York Times" just published this afternoon and this evening something that relates back to whether or not President Trump is getting good information on this or not. And what "The Times" is saying is that President Trump's personal attorney on Wednesday was forwarding an e-mail to conservative journalists, which basically, according to "The Times", echoes secessionist civil war propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups. According to "The Times" the e- mail's author run several websites alleging government conspiracies and argues that the FBI is infiltrated by Islamic terrorists. So if this is the kind of information that Mr. Trump is getting before these briefings, it could explain a lot.
COOPER: Wow. Drew Griffin, appreciate that. Thanks very much.
Topping this hour of "360," an evening of healing in Charlottesville, and the continuing toxic fallout from the president's remarks about the tragedy there, so severe that one question tonight is existential. Namely, is the Trump administration politically, effectively, over? We'll tackle that and much more with our panel tonight. First, let's go CNN's Rosa Flores on the University of Virginia campus where a vigil and peaceful march are getting underway. So what's happening at this vigil?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson, this is a very organic gathering. If you can take a look around, you'll see that there are hundreds of people here, but hear this. This was an effort from students, faculty, and alumni coming together, feeling that they needed to do something to come together in solidarity, after the atrocious events that happened here this past weekend.
So you'll see, if you look closely, people holding candles. They also have a song sheet that they have. And they tell us that they didn't use social media, for one purpose, because they wanted to make sure that everyone here felt safe. They worked with both university police and Charlottesville police to make sure that everybody was safe here. But more than anything, they only used word of mouth to make sure that all of these people were here. They only made phone calls and text messages, again, Anderson, because they were worried for their safety.
COOPER: So they were concerned if they used social media, that White Nationalists, White Supremacists, racists would see that and actually come to this candlelight vigil?
FLORES: You're absolutely right. And the message here is that those people are not welcome. And that's why they only used their inner circle, the circles of this university, of this community, to make sure that the people that were going to be in attendance were going to be peaceful.
And as you can see, you can see a lot of these people know each other. They came together with friends that they know from this university. They're holding up their candles. They're going to be singing here pretty soon. They all received song sheets. And that's the overall message. They all wanted to come together to start the healing process peacefully.
COOPER: We'll check in with you, Rosa, throughout the evening. Thank you.
Somehow, after all of this turmoil, all this pain, somehow after the murder of a young and vibrant woman and all the supercharged hatred leading up to it and all the political recrimination coming out of it, the president, we're told, has no regrets for salting the wounds yesterday instead of helping to bind them.
Today he was hit with more condemnation, including unprecedented statements from top military commanders and two former presidents, a former CIA director weighed in last night, and GOP lawmakers.
Somehow, the president, we're told, has no regrets. He's at his New Jersey golf club tonight. CNN's Jim Acosta is nearby. He joins us. What's the latest you're hearing from the White House about how all of this is playing out?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, as you said, we are hearing from sources the that the president has no regrets about these comments that he made yesterday. But in addition to that, we're also hearing no resignations. I talked to a senior White House official earlier this evening who said it's, "a safe assumption there will not be any major staffer resignations as a result of the president's comments yesterday."
My producer, Elizabeth Landers talked to a senior administration adviser, who said when it comes to the vice president's staff, there will not be any major resignations on that staff, as well. And that's a pretty good indication that the staff is very much standing behind this president. That's what vice president Pence said earlier today, down in South America.
COOPER: Is there any reason to think that the president is getting blunt feedback from his team or did they give him some version of what he wants to hear or maybe they agree with him.
ACOSTA: He lives in a bubble for the most part, Anderson. You do hear from time to time, there are some pretty bitter fights between the rival factions inside the White House, behind the scenes.
But Anderson, from what we're hearing, the president has time and again, and it appears he has done that this week, sided with the Steve Bannon faction of the White House, that is more important to placate this very far right base of the Trump Republican Party than to side with, say, his daughter and son-in-law, some of the more moderate members of his administration. And tack to the center. He is just not willing to do that at this point. And perhaps it's because we've been saying over the last 24 to 48 hours, Anderson, this is the real Trump that we saw yesterday.
[21:05:24] COOPER: It's so interesting, Jim. And sometimes you hear leaks and we've heard this just in the last day or so, leaks from friends of people who work in the White House who say, oh, this person is really upset by it. And it seems like they're leaking that out, so they let people know that they're upset. But they're not doing anything about it.
ACOSTA: They're not doing anything about it. And I did talk to sources earlier today who said, yes, there are people inside the White House who are upset about what the president had to say yesterday. But at the same time, in the words of one staffer, "nothing surprises me." This is a staffer who worked on the Trump campaign during the last election cycle. They saw what happened when the "Access Hollywood" video scandal played out last October. Donald Trump survived that scandal. And so the feeling inside this White House is that he'll survive this one too, Anderson.
COOPER: Jim Acosta, thanks. I want to talk about this all in more with Kirsten Powers, David Gergen, Tara Setmayer, Scott Jennings, Joseph Pinion, and Paul Begala.
David, I mean, from the reporting, you know, that President Trump has no regrets regards to the presser, does that surprise you at all? I mean, would you be surprised if he did have regrets?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I'd be surprised if he had regrets. I think he closed the door on what he says about this issue yesterday. I don't think there was much more he could add to it. And I think he's the type of guy who just refuses to admit mistakes. And I think his ego is so large that the negativity of that is translated in his mind to unfairness on our part.
COOPER: So does this all just blow over? GERGEN: No, it doesn't. That's very important. This is, I think, a signal event. You know, a lot of the things that have happened before, were happening in the midst of sort of just chaos and everyday part of a new headline. This stands out like a Katrina, one of these moments under presidency when people take their cues from that. Bill Clinton turned his presidency around with Oklahoma City. And we have the bombing out there and way he handled that. This president has taken the Oklahoma City example and turned it upside down and grievously wounded himself and I think left us with a more dangerous situation for the republic than we've had before.
COOPER: Tara, do you agree?
TARA SETMAYER, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, ABC NEWS: Yees. You know, we talked about this a lot during the campaign, about Donald Trump's temperament, what motivates him, what inspires him. People need to remember that Roy Cohn was Donald Trump's mentor. Roy Cohn was one of the most notorious mafia lawyers in New York City. He also worked for McCarthy. So, and it was Roy Cohn who instilled in Donald Trump during the housing discrimination lawsuit against him in the '70s, when there was a discrimination lawsuit brought because they weren't renting to black renters, Roy Cohn told him, double down. Don't apologize and you sue the Department of Justice. This fits the exact pattern of Donald Trump's entire life. This is who he is. Any sign of weakness, forget about it. It doesn't matter who wrong he is. That is part of the narcissism, to the point where it's pathological.
So we have now put someone in a position in the office of the presidency that requires someone to be bigger -- the office is bigger than an individual. And Donald Trump is morally bankrupt and incapable of the empathy required to be in a position that is bigger than himself. We saw that. People are crying on air. We had anchors today that were in tears watching the memorial. We had a friend of mine, who was a black Republican, was on another network, in tears over Donald Trump's inability to connect with the American people and be honest about how disgusting the display was on Saturday and his reaction was just so self-centered. People are really wounded. And the president has no ability to empathize or take up the leadership role that the office of the presidency requires.
COOPER: So, Scott, just in terms of the president's agenda, which obviously, you know, yourself, a lot of people, obviously, want to see a lot of the things in the president's agenda move forward, does this hurt his agenda moving forward? Does this hurt support on Capitol Hill? Because there are folks criticizing him on Capitol Hill, Republicans, often not by name, though.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think it probably affects the inner personal relationships that he has with some republicans. But what are they going to do? They're going to come back to work in September and they're going to go back to work on the things that they've already said they were going to do. They're going to work on tax reform. They're going to try to do health care again. They may try to write an infrastructure bill, although I'm dubious now that Democrats will want to work with the Trump administration on that, to give them a victory on that. But what choice do they have? I mean, to come back to Washington and do nothing? That's, frankly, I think what Republican voters expect them to do. They want them to achieve results and they don't really have an alternative.
[21:10:03] I think the more immediate short-term issue for the Trump administration is, what are they going to do when the next rally happens? I mean, I'm looking at news reports out of my home state tonight, there's a White Supremacist there who says that taking down the confederate statues in Lexington, Kentucky, is an act of genocide against white people. And he wants to have a rally. Now, this same guy is already on probation for causing violence at a Trump campaign rally last year.
Now, if they have a rally and draw a few thousand people and we have violence, God forbid, that's the next set of tests domestically for the Trump administration. So there's the agenda, but then there's this White Supremacy issue is not going away.
SETMAYER: Well, they're emboldened. He emboldened them. I mean, just the example that Drew Griffin talked about. I just read "The New York Times" story. You have the personal attorney, the lead attorney for Donald Trump sending -- disseminating civil war propaganda -- confederate propaganda to journalists, to people inside the Homeland Security. This is Donald Trump's personal attorney. It's so irresponsible, comparing Robert E. Lee and George Washington. There's no difference between them. I mean, it's insane.
And so Donald Trump has obviously surrounded himself with people who are enablers. And this kind of stuff, and he seems to think that it's just OK, which is why we see what we see. It's not tamped down. White Supremacists are emboldened today. And there's something seriously wrong with that.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: White Supremacists are emboldened and Congressional Republicans emasculated.
BEGALA: I wish you were right, and I pray you are, usually (INAUDIBLE) I'm usually right. Not this time. They are so cowed by that base, you can hear them moo. They are -- the 2018 campaign was about politicizing the alt-right.
COOPER: Paul, just hold on. I just want to tell people, we're showing on the other side of the screen this candlelight march in Charlottesville that a lot of people said, they didn't want to put it on social media. They didn't want a widely disseminated, because they were afraid that neo-Nazis or White Supremacists or others would show up and try to cause violence or mar it. But this is really kind of an impromptu gathering that we got word of earlier today, through sources. And so we want to just show you that as Paul continues to speak. And we'll drop into it from time to time.
BEGALA: I should have said, and I'm sure everybody says, our hearts go out to the Heyer family in their loss and the dignity with respect conduct themselves today. And stand our contrast. Our president did not go. He did not play that healing role that was so critical for President Reagan after the challenger crash, with President Bush, after 9-11, President Clinton after Oklahoma City. Because when you do those things, President Bush, six day after that terrorist attack by Muslim terrorists, he went to the mosques in Washington and he said, Islam is a religion of peace. We don't know how many acts of the domestic terrorism that prevented, right? They didn't round up the Muslims like we did in the '40s with Japanese Americans. It did a ton of good in ways that we will never know. Because it prevented evil acts. This president doesn't seem to get that.
And the check on him should be the Congressional Republicans, but they have not shown the slightest inclination to stand up to him and check him. What they ought to consider doing is a sense of the House and a sense to the Senate resolution, that the president was wrong. Not just that White Supremacy is wrong, but that the president is wrong. But they ought to be doing is holding hearings into the very real threat that we face by this emboldened and empowered White Nationalist alt-right movement.
BEGALA: There are things they can do to check him, but they will not.
COOPER: Joseph, I'm wondering you spoke very powerfully last night on this program, and I'm glad you're back as a Trump supporter. As you see these images tonight from this gathering, it looks like hundreds of people, what -- where's your head tonight?
JOSEPH PINION, CHAIR, THE CONSERVATIVE COLOR COALITION: I mean, I think the reality is for many Americans, I think, if you were somehow holding out hope that we were going to get some form of, you know, top-down leadership, I think that you must put that away now, you know. We must put away childish things.
The reality we face now in this moment is that there is no agenda. There is no agenda, because an agenda is depending on truth. And truth only happens when you actually have the trust of the people and the trust of the people is not going to be there when you have advocated the moral standard that we have here in this country.
So I need individuals in Congress to stop acting as if they are witnessing this as we are witnessing this, to act as if they are the dually elected members of co-equal branches of government, to go out there and say that we can reprimand this president, to say we have reprimanded, you know -- we reprimanded everyone from, you know, Barney Frank for helping out with parking tickets for a friend, parking tickets, an issue to recommend. We reprimanded Newt Gingrich for doing things such as making a mistake with filings with regard to, you know, using a nonprofit for political stuff. We reprimanded, you know, Joe Wilson for screaming out "you lie," you know. If you can't reprimand the president of the United States for giving aid and comfort to Nazis, at a time when they have literally killed somebody, then I don't need you to tweet. I don't need you to speak. I need you to exit stage right, so that we, at least, as a nation, those of us of conscious, who care about this issue, can have conversations rooted in solutions about how do we move forward?
COOPER: Kirsten, as I see this, I mean, I just think it says so much that they didn't want to post this on social media --
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
COOPER: -- because they were afraid of other people showing up.
POWERS: Yes. I mean, just listening to you say that, they're afraid of neo-Nazis showing up and disrupting their peaceful vigil. I mean, I just do keep feeling like, is this happening? Is this actually the world that we live in? And I just think that, you know, with President Trump, I mean, I just totally agree, he's not going to step up or change in any way possible. And for Republicans to say, you know, at least it's been reported, well, we want tax cuts and we need him to get tax cuts so we'll just kind of go along with this it's not morally acceptable.
When you look at the pictures of those people, the first thing, with the, you know, the tiki torches, chanting anti-semitic and racist things, that literally is the face of evil. You know, that's what you should see when you look at that. You should see evil. Like pure evil. And the president defended evil. And he didn't -- not only did he not reprimand it, he defended it and he acted sort of almost outraged on their behalf.
And so, you know, I think we have asked all along, like, why doesn't Donald Trump stand up against the so-called alt-right, which are just White Supremacists. Because this has happened during the campaign, and I think we now know the answer. He identifies with them.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We're going to have more from the panel. We're going to continue to follow the vigil and we'll take you back there so you can hear the sounds, the songs, the sentiment that is being expressed tonight in Charlottesville. We'll be right back.
[21:20:48] COOPER: Well, people are marching again tonight in Charlottesville. There are no tiki torches. They are not neo-Nazis or White Supremacists. They are people holding candles. No white power chanting or Nazi nostalgia. Tonight, a peaceful protest. The marchers say the aim is to replace hate with love, there are sadness, of course, as well. Memorial services were held today for Heather Heyer and, of course, there was a full day worth of political fallout from the president's own remarks and all of this back now with the panel.
Kirsten, we cut away, as you were speaking -- or David, you were wanting to say something right after Kristen.
GERGEN: Yes. Anderson, I think we're going to go through a rough period now on race relations. We're going to have to work our way through it. I'm confident that at the end, we're not going back to Jim Crow. This country has changed dramatically. There is goodwill on the part of a huge number of whites now. I don't care what this president does. He's not going to be able to turn back that tide. And thank God for it. I thought Paul Begala had an excellent idea that they are -- Republicans really ought to have hearings up there and figure out how big the threat is.
But, the scarier part right now is the state of the presidency and the man who's in it. I just -- it echoes some of what you've been saying. Leadership starts from within, from within a person. That's just sort of what's the -- are you anchored? You know, are you sound? Are you of good mind? And I think there are increasing questions tonight about whether this president, about his temperament, about his emotional and mental stability. These issues are now rising among psychiatrists in the country. Ho how do we come to grips with the anger that's in this man, the narcissism, the impulsivity?
You know, there's a goal water (ph) rule as they call it that says psychiatrists can't comment really or can't offer diagnosis of public figure without having a personal evaluation. That rule is under challenge tonight by a lot of psychiatrists, who think they need to speak out. They need to put this on the record. And we have never experienced this before and I think it's why the military has spoken up today. I think the military has seen, they have four generals in this administration.
COOPER: I think that was an extraordinary thing to have happen, that you have the heads of the branches of service, you know, they didn't criticize the president or said I could go that for, but just -- they only need to come out and just reaffirm the values of the U.S. military is an extraordinary thing.
GERGEN: Right. They have four of their own. Four generals now in this administration whose job it is to try to keep this president contained and move on and bring the best out of him. And all four now, certainly, you've got a chief of staff who had his head in his hands yesterday on that terrible press conference. He's got a National Security Adviser who's being chased out by the alt-right. He's having to defend his flank against this. And you've got two generals ahead of the joint chiefs and also General Mattis over at the Defense Department. What does he doing? They're having to go around the world cleaning up after this president in North Korea. I think there's a reason the military rallied today, because they have genuine fears about the emotional and mental stability of the man in the Oval Office.
BEGALA: And what a contrast to the gutless wonders on the domestic side.
BEGALA: And the senior White House staff --
GERGEN: Except CEOs --
BEGALA: CEOs. I mean, I just mean the senior White House staff and the cabinet, the domestic cabinet.
BEGALA: We know this, David.
BEGALA: Anything you see coming out of the president in public, it is an iceberg thing. Scott knows this. He worked in the White House. It's 10 times worse behind the scenes. So the senior staff, they know if the president is, in fact, unhinged. They know better than we do. And yet they are silent and complicit. There ought to be -- on the domestic side. I think National Security team, we need them. And they're able people and the president should get credit for putting together such a terrific National Security team. But how domestic side, how does Elaine Chao, a distinguished confident able independent person along before Donald Trump got in the politics, how does she stand there and take that? How does Steve Mnuchin and Gary Cohn who helped run Goldman Sachs, (INAUDIBLE) about Goldman Sachs, but they're all known to be strong and smart. Now they look weak and stupid.
BEGALA: That's what I'm looking for. Some moral leadership from the domestic seniors --
SETMAYER: You're going to keep looking, Paul, because they've had opportunities too. And note, there's no resignation letters that I've heard of yet, we still (INAUDIBLE), I guess. But no one has resigned over this. And they should have. People should have. I said last night on the show, shame on the enablers. And there have been so many of them and the conservative -- looking at the conservative media and my friends that, you know, I've known for so long and it's so dismaying, but where are the conservative thought leaders? Where are my fellow conservatives that were -- that believed in Bill Buckley's conservatism, Ronald Reagan's conservatism?
[21:25:16] And when we were supposed to, you know, yell stop, that's worth history, we saw things that were not right, where are those people? They are too busy arguing now over whether, you know, the fact that Antifa and Black Lives Matter were there and they acted, you know, poorly, also, and that shouldn't be ignored. We can't have that conversation now. Yet, that's a valid point. But that points out the window when you have the president of the United States credibility is completely shot because of the way he handled White Supremacy. That is not where the focus should be.
COOPER: Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist gave an interview to the "American Prospect" posted today. It was apparently done yesterday. He said, "The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got them. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."
SETMAYER: Because they polled that and they said, Steve Bannon said that before, we polled racism during the election and it didn't move the needle. So they don't care. And they should, because it's hurting the emotional fabric of this country. COOPER: Yes.
JENNINGS: I'll offer one political strategy caveat to that. I do think it's smart to focus on the economy, when you're running campaigns. But Americans, I think, seek more than just financial fulfillment out of being American. We seek the fulfillment in our spirits and in our guts, you know, the moral fulfillment that it means to be an American and the pride that comes with having the rest of the world look to us for moral leadership on all kinds of issues.
And so, being an American and focusing on how we are doing with our pocketbooks is part of how you win in politics, but it's not everything. And it's certainly not everything when it comes to the presidency. And I think that's one of the things we've seen in the polling. People feel good about the economy or better about the economy, but they're not feeling as good about the job approval of the president. It's extremely rare, extremely rare for those two numbers to be divergent. But I think it's explained, because we're not feeling fulfilled spiritually and morally right now, the way we have been under past presidents of both parties. That's the missing element.
PINIO: I think it's important, also -- I think that realistically, this is what happens when you put a saddle on the back of nationalism. I think that the reality is that as Republicans, we sat there for the last -- a 12-month period over the election, screaming about the fact that there is no such thing as Democratic socialism. It's just socialism. You can't put a word in front of it and dress it up. You know, you can't have anything called economic nationalism. Nationalism is a failed ideology. Nationalism has a track record of failure longer than socialism. And on many levels, it has nothing to do with the core tenants of what we called the party of Lincoln.
SETMAYER: That's right.
PINIO: So, again, when you start having these divergent threads of intellectual thought, that are not rooted in the fundamental principles of what we are supposed to stand for as a party, you end up with this, you know, mixed bag of disaster, where you have these individuals saying, I can glean a little bit of what I'm saying over here. And I can glean a little bit of what we're trying to accomplish over there. And then you end up in this situation where there is an infestation of disaster.
So, you know, I would encourage, again, individuals who are in positions of power to look at themselves and say, we have dragged Barry Bonds, we have dragged Sammy Sosa. We have dragged all these individuals in front of Congress to talk about things like steroids. You don't think that we cannot sit here and convene individuals in an emergency session to talk about the fact that Nazis are back? That the right is back? In America? When people are home and they're scared? I mean, I'm sorry. I understand that people feel as if they can't do anything. And I think it's difficult in these times when, particularly, even if you're not a person of color, to be able to know exactly what to say, as a person who is a conservative, but sometimes, what's right is right, what's wrong is wrong. There is no lose-lose situation in doing what is morally right.
SETMAYER: And there's a DHS report to back that up that came out in May from this administration about the rise of White Supremacy and acts of domestic terrorism. So it's not as though they don't -- they're not aware of what's going on.
COOPER: Much more to talk about tonight, including a new twist on the nationwide phenomenon, one city not just taking down confederate monuments, but doing it in the middle of the night. Is that a smart strategy a way of avoiding the debate the country needs to have. Baltimore's mayor joins us when we continue.
COOPER: A candlelight vigil happening right now in Charlottesville. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: We'll walk hand in hand we'll walk hand in hand some day, oh, deep in my heart I do believe that we'll walk hand in hand some day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My nights have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord, he has trampled out the vintage where the grapes are stored, he has loosed the lightning of his terrible swift sword his truth is marching on glory,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMAL: Glory, hallelujah, glory, glory, hallelujah glory, glory hallelujah, his truth is marching on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This little light of mine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: I'm going to let it shine, this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, this little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next verse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: I'm going to let it shine, hid it under a bushel, I'm going to let it shine, hid it under a bushel, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All around UVA.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: All around UVA, I'm going to let it shine, all around UVA, I'm going to let it shine, all around UVA, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlottesville.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlottesville.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: All around Charlottesville, I'm going to let it shine, all around Charlottesville, I'm going to let it shine, all around Charlottesville, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From my heart to yours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: From my heart to yours, I'm going to let it shine, from my heart to yours, I'm going to let it shine, from my heart to yours, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This land is your land --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: This land is my land from California to the New York Island from the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me. Yes, I was walking through the highway, I saw a beach and endless sky way, I saw below me that northern valley, this land was made for you and me, this land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've broke and rambled --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: -- and followed my footsteps, diamond rivers, and all around me, this land was made for you and me, this land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Islands, from the Redwood Forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.
COOPER: Few have felt sadness and loneliness over the last several days, these images and these sounds certainly, I hope, tonight, give you some hope, as they give certainly me hope for the future of all of us in this extraordinary country of ours.
Hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand or so people gathered in Charlottesville. We're told this rally wasn't announced on social media. It was simply done by word of mouth, because of fear of who might show up, what White Nationalists or neo-Nazis, people with hate in their hearts, might show up.
Clearly, tonight, there are hundreds, if not, as I said, more than a thousand or so, it's hard to tell, people there with very little if any hate in their hearts. This is a rally to replace love with hate and they are certainly doing that tonight. Replace hate with love, I should say. It's an extraordinary scene, I mean, it's certainly, given the images we've seen over the last call of days, it's certainly a sign of hope.
GERGEN: To me, this is the real America.
GERGEN: I think these people speak for far more. People are telling these neo-Nazis are a fringe group. They hate, but we far outnumber them. The people in that crowd far outnumber. That's why ultimately, this is going to come out OK.
POWERS: You know, we were talking before the break, though, that Steve Bannon, talking about, you know, as long as the Democrats are talking about racial issues, that he'll be winning. And I think that we like to think that this is what everybody is like, but, I think, one of the things we are learning with Donald Trump, that he has a lot of followers who are willing to at least stand by him while he does these kinds of things. And to me, that's what's been most alarming about this. Because you think it's 2017 and you think we're past this.
And yet, I won't be at all surprised if the next approval rating comes out and he still has a lot approval among Republicans. And that there were -- look, he was sending messages to alt-right, you know, the White Supremacists during the election, and people still stood by him.
So, you know, I think we've seen sort of the best of us and the worst of us, in the last couple of days. And we want to think that this is it. That there still seems to be -- where are the evangelical leaders condemning --
COOPER: That is an extraordinary thing. Not one of them has resigned --
POWERS: Jerry Folwell Jr. actually defended him. He tweeted out a tweet defending him. So, I mean, this is, you know, this a significant part of our population --
COOPER: There have been some, Dr. Russell Moore who has been very vocal --
POWERS: But he was very anti-Trump.
COOPER: Well, from the beginning.
POWERS: Yes. Where are the ones who supported Donald Trump coming out and condemning this?
GERGEN: Remember the letter from the Birmingham jail of Dr. Martin Luther King talking about the pastors who refused to come over for so long. They're not necessarily on the cutting edge on issues like this.
POWERS: They have a higher power to answer to for their hypocrisy on this than any poll number or electorate. But, you know, Ronald Reagan said that all great change in America starts at the dinner table. And I think what we're seeing, what he means by that is that we as individuals are -- we are really in control of where our country goes. We elect our leaders. We hold them accountable. We stand up. And we -- at times like this, come together and the best of us comes out. And I think it's so important for people to see this, because there is so much despair. So much despair going on in this country that people need to see that we are capable of being civilized, of being good people. And that despite what's going on in Washington, despite what's going on with Donald Trump, and his inability to lead, that we as the American people, it starts with us. Ultimately, it begins and ends with us as Americans. So, I'm happy to see that.
[21:40:18] BEGALA: I am, but what a tragic commentary that what, almost 60 years after John Lewis put his life on the line on the (INAUDIBLE) so many others, (INAUDIBLE) murdered in Mississippi. So many people, when we were babies, or not even born, in your case, Tara, put their bodies and lives on the line. And I have to say, until this week, I thought that time was in our past. And, you know, what a thrill for me to be able to introduce my children to John Lewis, explain to them what Mr. Lewis represents.
Now I see this as, father, I'm loading my son in a car Friday and driving him to Charlottesville to go to the University of Virginia for his second year. I have friends who teach there. He texted me and saying, yes, they did in fact text all the students and said, don't talk about this on social media, but come out. We're now back to putting our bodies on the line. That's what Heather Heyer did. She put her body on the line in front of a White Supremacist and gave her life for the values that we all hold as Americans.
And I have to say, it's humbling to see the Heyer family at that service and the sacrifice they've laid on the altar of liberty. But it's also depressing to realize that in the 21st century, there are still Heather Heyers who have to do that. And these young people, they know what they're doing. They know that there is a risk, a real risk to their physical person, as young people. And they're going out there, anyway. That's real courage.
SETMAYER: They have more courage than the president of the United States or the members of the Republican Party that are not coming out and they should, you know, participating in these. You know, members of Republican, members of Congress should be taking a stand like this.
COOPER: Joseph, when you were watching this, what'd you think?
PINION: I mean, it's -- it's completely demoralizing, as an American. Steve Bannon wants to talk about identity politics, you know, we have one identity right now as Americans. Race has always been a real thick, but to think that anybody really, truly thought that you'd be sitting here listening to spirituals in 2017, I think that, you know, the most overused Dr. King quote is that the arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. The hidden subtext for that is only if we make it so.
And so, it is incumbent on all of us to remember and honor Heather. To honor what she has done, to honor the sacrifice that her family has made. But also to -- what you were saying, to connect that to, you know, to Andrew Goodman. To connect that to Michael Swerdlick (ph), to connect that that those were two Jewish individuals in 1964 who were buried in the mud just next to James Carney.
COOPER: The anniversary was just, I think, was last week or two weeks ago.
PINION: You know, and so all of us need to take a step back. I don't care if you're a Republican, a Democrat, I don't care if you're an individual who believes in #blacklivesmatter. To understand that the blood that pays for liberty comes from people of all ethnicities. And it is incumbent on all of us to understand that we have a shared responsibility to speak truth to power. We have a shared responsibility to say, as one nation, that this is unacceptable. I don't care if I voted for you. I don't care if I didn't vote for you. But we are not going to tolerate people who give aid and comfort to the banality of evil.
COOPER: Let's listen in.
We're watching this. We'll bring more of this rally to you. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Charlottesville tonight, they're observing a moment of silence for the three lives lost on Saturday. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. I have been asked to share a poem with all of you tonight that will allow us --
COOPER: We're continuing the conversation that the tragedy there has brought to the forefront and this is another aspect of it. More and more cities are grappling with the question, do confederate monuments enshrine hate or preserve heritage.
Last night the mayor of Baltimore went ahead with plans to "quickly and quietly" remove four confederate statues in the city. Cranes and trucks were used to haul away the monuments. Catherine Pugh, the Mayor of Baltimore, joins us now.
Mayor Pugh, first of all, as we continue to watch the candlelight vigil in Charlottesville, I know you were listening to the sounds of people singing earlier. What goes through your mind as you hear that?
MAYOR CATHERINE PUGH, BALTIMORE: Well, my heart and soul goes out to the lives that were lost, and lost because of the hatred that exists in this nation. And when I think about having to remove the statues, you know, we removed them because it was necessary, but because the violence that's occurring in this country and the discussions over why they should exist and why they shouldn't are discussions that we should not really be having and certainly should not include the lost los of life.
And so, I had conversations with Mayor Landrieu of New Orleans back in June at the U.S. conference of mayors. And I say to people, if you have not heard a speech more riveting that gives us real reasons to look at why we should remove those statues. And I felt that we didn't need to hear anymore speeches. That it was time for action.
And so, I had laid out a plan before the city council on Monday, because I had discussions with contractors and so forth to help me to remove these statues from the eyesight of the people of Baltimore City, because we, too, are a city in need of much healing, going through a consent decree at our last stage, where we will be selecting our monitor. You know, we've got a lot of work to do in Baltimore. And this distraction for us was certainly not something we wanted to see. This is a very painful --
PUGH: -- situation that we're all seeing now on our screens, what happened in Charlottesville. COOPER: The idea of doing it in the night, was that for -- just to avoid any potential incident?
PUGH: Well, not just that. I just thought it would be, you know, for me, it was not about pomp and circumstance. It was about getting it done. Certainly, late-night hours are easier in terms of traffic and certainly easier for contractors to maneuver. One of the statues took about 45 minutes to unhitch, but one took nearly 2 1/2 hours to unhitch. So to be able to do that at that time of the evening, I think, almost morning, because I've been up since 5:00 a.m. on yesterday morning, was absolutely, in my opinion, the right thing to do.
You know, as a mayor, I think you have a responsibility to protect the citizens of your city and at the same time not to invite negativity into your communities. And so it was my opinion that we were doing the right thing at the right time.
[21:50:05] COOPER: Mayor Pugh, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.
PUGH: Thank you.
COOPER: I want to go back to the rally right now and listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for bringing peace back to our grounds and as we depart today --
COOPER: In a moment, we're going to hear from two young women who were in the car that the attacker smashed his own car and to killing Heather Heyer, injuring 19 other people. We'll continue to bring you images from the candlelight vigil. We'll speak to the two women ahead.
COOPER: Well, we continue to watch the uplifting images from Charlottesville tonight. If there's any justice in the world, one day they will replace in our hearts the horrible pictures from Friday night and Saturday. You've seen the video by now and you know that the car that smashed into the other car in Charlottesville left one woman dead and more than a dozen injured.
A memorial was held this morning for 32-year-old Heather Heyer who was killed there. For people who were there it is certainly a day, a moment that they will never forget. Two young women were in the car that the attacker smashed into along with the people in the crowd. Tadrint Washington and Micah Washington, I spoke with them earlier.
COOPER: Tadint and Micah, thank you so much for joining us today. I mean, I really cannot imagine how hard this is for you, how surreal all of this is to take. You were both in the car that was directly struck by the car we see in the video. Can you just walk me through what happened? Because you only happened to be in the area by chance, I understand.
TADINRT WASHINGTON, SURVIVED CHARLOTTESVILLE CRASH: Yes. I remember we were surrounded by people. There was people all around us and we was just amazed looking at all of these people and I remember a guy coming to my window telling me, thank you for your patience, and I would say about two minutes -- not even two minutes later, my head was in my steering wheel. My vision had -- kind of went out. I was seeing circles in my eyes. I saw a woman tumbling down on my windshield and just laying there and I kind of like closed my eyes because I didn't know what I was seeing was real because I had just hit my head so hard and I just think that I just was just trying to gather my thoughts because when I came back, I just heard people screaming. It was so many people in my face trying -- you know, I guess trying to help me or trying to see if I was OK and I just -- it was like something I never saw before.
[21:55:21] COOPER: And Micah, did you see people around you who had been injured?
MICAH WASHINGTON, SURVIVED CHARLOTTESVILLE CRASH: Oh, my gosh yes. There were people in every direction of me injured. And particularly, I remember Heather Heyer being on the ground near the back of my sister's car.
COOPER: You actually saw her?
WASHINGTON: And I just remember -- you know, I actually saw her. There were EMTs all around her but I remember particularly the EMT that was giving her CPR at the time, he was using all of his might, all of his force to try and revive her. You know, I could tell that they were really, really struggling in that moment. I could see Heather Heyer's body moving from, you know, lifting off of the ground because he's putting all of his strength into the CPR, you know, trying to revive her.
COOPER: Tadrint, I understand when you look back on this, you actually think there may have been a reason why you were there?
T. WASHINGTON: I do, because of me trying to get home, you know. I could have chose to go all the way around to get home but I was just trying to take the shortcut back so I won't have to go all the way around and every shortcut I took there was a detour, there was a detour, that led us right to that spot and I truly believe that God put us there to not only to put us there because he knew he would save our life but to put us there because he had to save a whole bunch of more people life. And I strongly believe if my car didn't stop, most of the impact it would have been way more people injured or even killed.
COOPER: Had that driver not hit your car, you believe he would have plowed right into the crowd and hurt and killed more people?
M. WASHINGTON: Absolutely.
T. WASHINGTON: I really do, because if you see the video, the people are coming to the sides of the car and on the sides of the car, sides of the sidewalk because you have a van and my car there. But if my car wasn't there, the people would have just been in the middle of the road and the driver who plowed into the crowd would have had way more space and opportunity to hit way more people.
COOPER: When you see the video, I know when you went home, obviously you saw what had happened on the news and you actually saw the video of your car being rammed. What was that like to actually see it from that perspective?
T. WASHINGTON: I think when I saw the video, it was so real, it actually -- it actually made me see -- feel -- it actually made me feel even more afraid to know -- to see someone going so fast and hit my car, just people flying out of the way, scattering and trying to get out of the way and how the car just kept going. It's very frightening to know something like this is going on in our society. It's very frightening to know you can be sitting at a stop sign and your life is in danger and it just made me feel very afraid. It made me feel racism is still here. It made me feel I'm alive. I survived.
COOPER: Tadrint and Micah, I appreciate you're (INAUDIBLE) from your words. And thank you so much for talking with us.
M. WASHINGTON: Thank you.
T. WASHINGTON: Thank you.
COOPER: Before we go tonight, I just want to show you one more moment from the march and the vigil tonight in Charlottesville, a badly needed moment, one of gentle redemption. Listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: I do believe that some day, we'll walk hand in hand, we'll walk hand in hand, we'll walk hand in hand some day, oh deep in my heart, I do believe that we shall walk hand in hand some day.
COOPER: Some day. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon in "CNN Tonight".