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Thousands Of Counterdemonstrators Converged On Boston Overshadowing The Self-Described Free Speech Rally; Steve Bannon Will Be A Tough And Smart New Voice At Breitbart News; President And First Lady Will Now Skip This Year's Annual Kennedy Center Honors. Aired 4:00-5:00p ET
Aired August 19, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Thanks for join us this weekend. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.
Up first, demonstrators and counterdemonstrators taking to the street of an American city one week after the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today this is the scene in Boston. Thousands of counterdemonstrators turning out in protest of a self- described free speech rally. Boston's police commissioner William Evans is expected to recap today's events this hour at 4:30 eastern. We will monitor and we will bring you updates.
Police say this march and rally was mostly peaceful. But there were some tense moments. At one point, police moved in to separate rally participants from the counterdemonstrators. At least eight people were arrested.
President Trump tweeting about this just moments ago. Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart. Thank you.
Moments later, he tweeted great job by all law enforcement officers and Boston mayor Marty Walsh. For more on the march and rally, CNN correspondents Sara Sidner is joining us from Boston.
Sara, still looks like a large crowd behind you there. Give us a sense of the people who have shown up. Would you describe them as anti-police agitators?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. There are people here who - actually, I saw someone who worked for the mayor's office who was out here as well. There are people here from all different walks of life. And the people who organized this like black lives matter and some other groups.
If you talk to many of the Black Lives Matter advocates, there are lots of people saying we are not anti-police, we are anti-police brutality. So that's one thing that should differentiate them. But also there are a lot of people here who are here because they are very concerned about what is happening in the country, especially after what the country and the world saw happening in Charlottesville.
Because of that, because of that, that is what you are seeing, such a large crowd. It really is a diverse crowd. Were there some taunts toward police? Yes. Were there a few people who are yelling and screaming? Yes. But as a whole, there are thousands of people -- thousands of people who showed up. And their message was, we shouldn't be silent. We have to stand up against white supremacy and signed up against (INAUDIBLE). And that is what you are seeing.
Now, there is a crowd, a smaller crowd that is now in the street here at Tree Month Street (ph), but they are here and the police came through them and they sort of went past them and the street has about a bit smaller but they are standing in the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to go.
SIDNER: We are sort of being moved off the truck now. So we are going to kind of get down for you at this point in time.
CABRERA: All right, Sara. We will check back with you. Keep us updated on what's happening again in Boston. Largely peaceful protest happening there at this hour.
Activism on the streets isn't the only backlash we are seeing after Charlottesville. The Trump administration is also under siege. In the last week alone, President Trump has been forced to disband three of his advisory councils after members began leaving. His committee on arts and humanities, this as a very latest, disbanding just a day or so ago. More than a dozen charities have also cancelled events at trump's ritzy Mar-a-Lago club. And yesterday, billionaire Carl Icahn stepped down as an adviser to the President.
Joining us, CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, CNN contributor. And "Washington Post" reporter David Fahrenthold. CNN political commentator and former lieutenant governor of South Carolina Andre Bauer and former chairman of the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party, A. Scott Bolden.
Gentlemen, thanks for joining me.
Douglas, I want to start with you. Help us understand and contextualize this moment. Is there anything we can compare it to in the past?
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, the -- Donald Trump has done something that no President has ever done before which is just kind of incite the country. Unified people in so many and so many Republicans have, you know, joined forces with Democrats. You have people bailing on Mar-a-Lago. You have the Kennedy center for arts winners saying they won't show up if the President is there. Athletes don't want to go to the White House.
He has become the pariah President. And Charlottesville seems to me to be the tipping point. It is a point that sort of mobilizing the anti-Trump opposition. And Trump now forever in history is going to be associated with very far right wing extremists even white supremacist policies because of his bungling of Charlottesville.
CABRERA: David, you broke the reporting about all of these charities now pulling events from Mar-a-Lago. I think the latest number was 16. Are they canceling specifically because of the president's response to Charlottesville?
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, a lot of them have not mentioned the word Charlottesville in their response but it's clear from the timing of this cancellations. That's what did it. This is all a wave that happened since the middle of last week. So after Charlottesville a couple of days later, the Cleveland clinic based in Ohio, they cancelled their charity. Since then eight more, including one today.
It has reached even to the charities that are just based in Palm Beach. Kind of in the social bubble where Trump remains relatively popular. A big Palm Beach charity cancelled just a few minutes ago. So it has been a pretty big wave of those charities depriving his club of quite a lot of money.
[16:05:00] CABRERA: How much of a finance hit is this for the President?
FAHRENTHOlD: Well, it depends on one of these folks get their deposit back or not. But each one of these galas could be between $100,000 and $275,000 in fees for Trump's club just one - for each night. So for all of these things, nine galas in all cancelled in addition to a couple of luncheons, we are looking at $1 million or more for Trump's club. It is a significant amount of money.
CABRERA: Again, we are continuing to monitor the protests on the ground there in Boston. These are images from overhead.
And let me turn to you, A. Scott. The President tweeting about these protests just within the last hour. He writes quote "looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart. Thank you, great job by all law enforcement officers and Boston mayor Marty Walsh." What's your response?
A. SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, WASHINGTON D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, based on your reporting certainly there are not a lot of police agitators there. As a matter of fact, Boston police officers have done a good job of keeping the protesters apart but Donald Trump as a super narcissist, as someone who supports at least the sympathizes or reports this racism, this hatred, this bigotry, all he knows is to fight. And to put your finger on the wrong button to create some type of chaos or adversity, if you will. Instead of being the healer in- chief, the consoler in-chief, he is the agitator in-chief. And until he figures out that he is not representing himself, he is representing all of us, or at least he is supposed to, you are going to get these tweets that simply agitate.
Black lives matter is there. They have been nonviolent. No issues there. Only eight people were arrested. But why were they there? They were there standing up to racism, hatred and bigotry. What brought them there was racism, hatred and bigotry. We saw the President do last Tuesday was support racism, bigotry and hatred. And that is why you have the organizations nonprofits and otherwise pulling out of anything connected to him because it is not in mainstream America.
America wants to be better but Donald Trump won't let it. And simply because you are the President and you have got elected doesn't mean you have got to take us back. You have to move us forward. And he is simply is incapable of doing that.
CABRERA: Andre, there have been thousands of people who have turned out today and they were protesting against hate according to our Sara Sidner and other reporters on the ground. Mostly peaceful there. There have been a handful, a little bit more than a handful of arrests made today. But is this the right response days after being accused of defending white nationalists?
ANDRE BAUER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, we know this is the difficult time in our history. And, you know, I worry as to what these mayors have to make the decision. You know, it's almost as if we need some clause that says, look, we believe in freedom of speech but when we believe that freedom of speech is getting ready to harm people there needs to be some way for them to pull the brakes.
When rioters are showing up in better gear than what the police officers have, most don't have the intentions that the average citizen does that shows up to be vocal and let their feelings be known. We have people that are actually showing up in gear, better than what folks like myself that are 15 year plus police officers. It's concerning. And a few people can really mess up freedom of speech for everyone because they are out there to do more than just speak.
CABRERA: Yes. There are few people could do. And by all accounts it sounds like it was just a little more than a few people who were causing trouble out of thousands. So why is the President focusing on that and not sending out a message of peace and unity and perhaps even cheering people who are protesting against hate?
BAUER: Well, last Saturday, you were kind enough to have me on your show and we talked about this very situation. And I said, you know, give him a couple of days and he will be able to see the facts and he will be go back he did that.
CABRERA: And then he reversed again the next day.
BAUER: I wish he had done a little quicker, a little more concise. Again --.
CABRERA: Andre, you are not answering my question. Do you approve of the way the President is now handling this situation today? Do you think that his tweet about anti-police protesters being the ones who showed up at this Boston protest today and focusing on that, sending that message out to the world is the right tweet to send out?
BAUER: You know, I try not to criticize when President Obama was the President, I tried not to criticize him on everything he did. It's easy to criticize people. Unless you have an explanation of better way to handle it, just to beat on somebody all the time I don't think is healthy for the system. I don't think it is healthy process. Clearly, if I were the President I would have handled it differently.
But I'm not the President of the United States. And so, there are things he could have done better in hindsight always, better than it is looking in today's vantage point. But again, I think the President is very -- has been very fair and judicious in almost everything he said.
CABRERA: A. Scott, I know you wanted to respond.
BOLDEN: You do, can I respond to that?
CABRERA: Go ahead.
BOLDEN: I would like to respond to that. So he is forced to say that he denounces the KKK, and the neo-Nazis in 2017 forced to do that. Before that he says it was a blame on all sides as if there's some moral equivalent and then Tuesday he has a complete breakdown if you will. And he goes back to defending neo-Nazis and other hate groups.
Hate speech is not free speech. I don't care what the Supreme Court says quite frankly. And we have the President supporting -- that's taking us backwards not forwards. And Andre as a Republican, as a statesman, you have an obligation and a duty as a member of the Republican Party to stand up, to criticize because there is no choice. Good versus evil. There is no if, ands or buts about it. Your President is wrong. You all stand up in calling what it is asking to be better or disassociate yourself from his the port of hate speech, Nazis, bigotry, hatred, the Ku Klux Klan.
[16:10:47] BAUER: And he did.
BOLDEN: And you ought to stand up and say so.
CABRERA: So did you -- are -- but Andre it seems like you're ignoring what he said - yes, what he said the very next day without a teleprompter and he was very passionate saying that there was violence on both sides and condemning both sides. He also said that there were very fine people on both sides. We know very, very well who was on one side of that. And that was people who were white nationalist and KKK and neo-Nazis who were wandering around -- what's not true?
BAUER: There are people who showed up to protest that had no intention of violence whatsoever.
CABRERA: Exactly -- a lot of were the counter-protesters.
BOLDEN: That's right, the protesters.
BAUER: On both sides -- on both sides there were people with bad intentions and good intentions. And those few people with those intentions that were bad make everybody get painted with the same brush. But that's not the case. It is not every single person that showed up to say hey, we don't believe in taking this monument down wanted it to be physical or violent. They just wanted to say they believe in something. And so to criticize all of them under the same blanket is not fair and is not right. CABRERA: Guys, I have other people with us. So let me move the
Douglas, some Republicans are specifically calling this President out by name because they do not approve. They do not agree with Andre. Two of the strongest statements have come from Senators Bob Corker and Tim Scott. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: The President has not yet -- has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R)), COUTH CAROLINA: On Tuesday he started to erase some of the comments that were strong. What we want to see from our President is clarity and moral authority, that moral authority is compromised when Tuesday happens. There's no question about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Doug, is it significant that some Republican lawmakers, Senator Corker there, starting to question President Trump's competency and stability?
BRINKLEY: I think it's important. And you know, John F. Kennedy who has grew up in the Boston area he wrote a book "Profiles in Courage." It was about U.S. senators at key moments in American history that had to stand up and be accounted for, and do what maybe others in the party don't want to do.
I think Bob Corker in particular this week, man of the south, a conservative, his statement about how Donald Trump is really humiliating our country I thought it was a proud moment for his career. You know, history going to judge us now. There's an honor roll of people that are for love and understanding and a brotherhood and a sisterhood. And then there's going to be hate mongers. And you don't want to be on the wrong ledger of history right now.
Dr. Martin Luther the King did his doctorate there at Boston. He learned nonviolent techniques there. He studied (INAUDIBLE). Henry David (INAUDIBLE) and others. And so I'm very proud today to see the people in Boston doing what American should do peacefully protest. And the police are doing a good job up there, but Donald Trump's tweets today tried to make it an ugly event, trying to pit people against each other when it was simply a lot of good Americans saying we don't like hate.
CABRERA: David, let's take a look at just how many Republican lawmakers have called the President out by name over his response to Charlottesville. Now, this is really only a handful of the roughly 300 Republicans in Congress. Do you think we are really starting to see a shift away from this President among the GOP or not?
FAHRENTHOLD: At this point we will know in the next few weeks. There is going to be some tests of President Trump's moral authority over Republicans or political authority over Republicans in next few weeks on tax reform, on spending, on the debt ceiling. This is going to be September, particularly it is going to be a time when President Trump is going to wish he had some kind of authority or favors or anything else he could use over the Republican Congress to navigate these things that are coming up. Instead, he has used the last few weeks to go after somebody that -- do you see one of the colleagues, attorney general Jeff Sessions and somebody who is the leader, the senate Republicans, Mitch McConnell.
In addition to the statements about Charlottesville it's caused a lot of the folks to step back. So I think he has done an amazing amount. Trump has done an amazing amount in first eight months of his presidency to alienate his own party. Party people that were ready I think to go to battle for him in the first months of his administration. So I think he has done a lot. And I think since some Republicans already talking about, let's create a Republican identity in Congress separate from President Trump which is something I think we have not seen any party say about their own President in modern history.
[16:15:21] CABRERA: Doulas, David, Andre and A. Scott Bolden, thank you all for joining us.
Coming up, the President opts out of attending this year's Kennedy center honors after some of the celebrity guests threatened to boycott. We will get a live report next.
[16:19:40] CABRERA: It's a celebration of America's diverse artistic legacy. But the President and first lady will now skip this year's annual Kennedy center honors. More on the fallout after President Trump's comments about last weekend's deadly violence in Charlottesville.
Three honorees, TV producer Norman Lear, Singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade said they would boycott this White House reception for the arts celebration if the President were there.
Now, Boris Sanchez is joining us from Bridgewater, New Jersey.
Now Boris, what reason did the White House give for President Trump and the first lady choosing not to attend?
[16:20:16] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, the White House essentially saying they didn't want to be a distraction to the honorees. It certainly is an unprecedented but perhaps not unexpected move if you consider the President has skipped out on several other events including the White House Correspondents dinner just a few months ago.
Here is the official statement from the White House. I want to read it to you. It says quote "the President and first lady have decided not to participate in this year's activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction." Again, this is unprecedented, Ana. There have been four other
occasions or rather three other occasions, this is the fourth, where a sitting President has missed the Kennedy center honors. And it's important to point out it's also unprecedented to have so many honorees coming out and saying things so critical of the President, Ana.
CABRERA: So Boris, have the honorees spoken publicly about their concerns specifically over the President's comments on Charlottesville?
SANCHEZ: Some of them have. That boycott that you mentioned of the reception at the White House before the actual gala event is set to take place. Some of that came after Charlottesville but some of the criticism of the President actually came well before. I want you to listen to what Lionel Richie a self-described friend of President Trump had to say when he was considering whether or not to take part in the festivities. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIONEL RICHIE, SINGER: I must tell you I'm not really happy as to what's going on right now with the controversies and they are weekly, daily, hourly. But I think I'm just going to wait it out for a minute and see where it's going to be by that time. This is going to be in December. I mean, we may be in a whole --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Other world.
RICHIE: Other world by that time. But I'm going to weigh it out. I totally understand Norman's point of view. And I understand where we are as a country right now is going backwards, but all we can do is kind of sit here and hold our breaths.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Again, Ana, it is unprecedented to hear that kind of perspective from some of these Kennedy center honorees. Keep in mind, the other three Presidents that have missed this event, Jimmy Carter, the first George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton apparently all had scheduling conflicts. We couldn't get clarity on specifically what they were, but this is the first time that we have seen a boycott essentially of the White House from the honorees of the Kennedy center, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Boris Sanchez. And we also saw the President in the White House statement now saying that it was to avoid any political distraction the reason those -- the first lady and the President aren't going to attend. Thanks so much.
Coming up the mother of a woman killed in the Charlottesville violence has expressed her outrage and revulsion with the President. Why she says she won't even talk to him.
Plus, the missed calls that happened she says during her daughter's funeral. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[16:27:39] CABRERA: Steve Bannon the now former chief strategist for President Trump is already back at his old job, running his old website and say those who oppose him will be crushed.
Sources tells CNN Bannon believes he put the pieces in place from his agenda to live on without him in the White House and down played concern about his imminent firing telling associates he would return to his quote "killing machine Breitbart."
The President tweeting phrase a couple of hours ago writing Steve Bannon will be a tough and smart new voice at Breitbart news. Maybe even better than before. Fake news needs the competition.
Here is CNN's Tom Foreman with how Steve Bannon rose and fell in the Trump universe.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the whole improbable unexpected roaring rise to power, the man whispering in Donald Trump's ear was Steve Bannon, a true believer at the ultra- right wing breitbart.com when few were.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: They were laughing at me, when I said this Trump is going to be -- it's going to be very serious. So it is good to see that you are in the heat of combat now --.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I remember you looked and you said boy, those are big crowds yes you're getting.
FOREMAN: More than a cheerleader, Bannon was the campaign's ideologue pushing explosive and persistent themes, some of which he crafted over years on terrorism --
BANNON: We are in an outright war against jihadists, Islamic fascism.
FOREMAN: On big money interest.
BANNON: The financial elites in the political class have taken care of themselves and led our country to the brink of ruining.
FOREMAN: On opponents within the Republican Party and on his holy grail.
BANNON: Deconstruction of the administrative state.
FOREMAN: Once called the most dangerous political operative in America, Bannon is a former navy officer and a former banker who made an early investment in the Seinfeld TV series that led to money and media experience which he transformed to the political battering rams.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want our kids or our grandkids' futures taken away from us and we are going to stand up and do whatever we need to do to make sure that that doesn't happen.
FOREMAN: He produced a series of blistering films promoting conservative views on immigration, climate change and the Obama administration. Bannon's movies praised Sarah Palin and the right, while savaging Hillary Clinton in the left.
BANNON: With the Clintons, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale. But we are the ones who are paying the price.
[16:30:04] FOREMAN: And through it all he preached the gospel of a government run amok.
TRUMP: Unbelievable. Unbelievable.
FOREMAN: At a time, he and Trump joined forces, Bannon was fiercely going after the media and elites of all strikes.
BANNON: I say every day, these working class men and women, middle class men and women are ten times smarter than this intellectual group.
FOREMAN: But Bannon's outsider status caused friction with D.C. insiders. He was never able to push any major legislation through to passage. He got a lot of favors with some Trump family members. And critics never stopped howling about his ties to the nationalistic alt- right movement with its racist overtones.
BANNON: We are a nation within a culture and a reason for being. And I think that's what unites us. And I think that that's what's going to unite this movement going forward.
FOREMAN: And even though he is now out of the White House as he takes a familiar role as Breitbart's executive chairman you can expect his war on Washington to roll on.
BANNON: If you think they're going to give you --
CABRERA: That was Tom Foreman. Our thanks to him.
Let's bring in our political commentator, conservative Ben Ferguson, host of the "Bern Ferguson show" and Wajahat Ali, a "New York Times" contributor.
Ben, some have said Bannon was the architect of the ideological movement that some supports got behind. So with Bannon out what does that tell you where the President's head is at and where his administration might be heading?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it's too soon to tell exactly where his administration may be heading. I think it's pretty clear here that Steve Bannon was a guy that's a great architect when it comes to a campaign and understanding how to connect with voters and maybe that isn't serving the President well within the White House. And he also did not get along with General Kelly, the new chief of staff.
So I think Bannon going back to Breitbart is going to going back to his roots when he is really, really good at. I also think he will probably very much still be in contact with this White House and the President and to remind him on the issues and what is out there and what he promised and what he better be doing with the American voters. Otherwise, they may turn away from the President come next -- you know, the next election cycle.
So I think this could actually be a blessing in disguise for both men. I think Donald Trump has to get a little bit more disciplined. I think Kelly is trying to make that be done.
Look, I'm a realistic here. The last you know month or so have not been great for this White House. They have tried to, you know, tweak things. I'm optimistic that General Kelly is going to be on a really accomplish something, especially now there's not as much infighting.
This is going to be General Kelly's team now around him. And this is going to be Donald Trump and his son-in-law and his daughter. They have to put up now. A lot of them are -- you know, they're not experienced in politics so they have to put up now big time.
CABRERA: Let me play you something the President said about Steve Bannon earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He is a good man. He is not a racist. I can tell you that. He is a good person. He actually gets a very unfair press in that regard. But we will see what happens with Mr. Bannon. But he is a good person. And I think the press treats him frankly very unfairly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So he was still defending Bannon even this week, Wajahat. Do you think the President was forced into this decision or was this all him?
WAJAHAT ALI, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: This was probably all him and it wasn't because of Steve Bannon's white nationalism. And at least there is one less white nationalist in the White House. But we still have a few more in the White House. It was most likely due to President Trump's very fragile ego as we have discovered and heard from many people close to President Trump. He was increasingly disturbed that Steve Bannon was getting all the credit, that Bannon was on the cover of "Time" magazine, that Bannon was seen as the puppet master and also in the last week or two he was increasingly upset that Steve Bannon was most likely the source of the leaks as we have seen in the American prospect article where Steve Bannon torpedoed essentially Trump's fire and fury posture against North Korea and also the infighting against McMaster.
So with two alpha dogs you have one less alpha dog. You have Donald Trump who, of course, let's not forget takes two scoops of ice cream while everyone else gets one scoop of ice cream. But Donald Trump doesn't need Bannon for white nationalism as we have seen through his response or lack of response last week in Charlottesville and his double standard when it comes to the protesters today in Boston. So white nationalism at the very least will be secure in the White House, but -- I know Ben Ferguson is going to make an excuse.
FERGUSON: Using the white nationalist over and over again.
ALI: You're not, Ben Ferguson.
FERGUSON: Well, I deal with facts. I don't think that Steve Bannon, one, is a white nationalist. I think that's a cheap political talking point that obviously somebody at the DNC told you to say 25 times on national TV, so I hope they send you some balloons and cookies after his appearance.
CABRERA: Hey, guys. One at a time please. Ben, finish your point.
FERGUSON: I think it's pretty clear you got your talking points down. So I will say congratulations. You are a good soldier on TV but it's not based in reality.
Steve Bannon is a guy that understands the pulse of what got Donald Trump elected. You know, you can attack him all you want to. And you can say the President was jealous of him. Look, I don't think the President was jealous. I think the fact is the President wants to succeed and when things aren't going well he's willing to make changes. That's the reason we have seen a lot of changes recently because he understands deep down things have not been amazing lately when it comes to the optics around the country. I think he realized bringing in a new chief of staff, having a new White House press secretary, all --
CABRERA: But Ben, Ben, don't you think the President is kind of shooting himself in the foot in some of these tweets that he's putting out? It doesn't matter who he is surrounded by?
FERGUSON: Well, look, ultimately I think you need to have the best advisers around you that you can get. I think you have to listen to them. I do think that many people believe that the President does need to calm down on twitter a little bit. I think the President's pretty clear that's his way. That is the way he is going to communicate directly to the American people. Some days it hurts him, some days it helps him. It got him elected so it obviously has worked more than it hasn't work. But I do think as President you have to look at twitter and social media in a different context moving forward. You are no longer a candidate. You are the President.
[16:35:16] CABRERA: I want to get Wajahat back in here. Let me read the latest tweet from President Trump today. Well, two tweets really. He says looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart. Thank you, and great job by all law enforcement officers and Boston mayor Marty Walsh.
Wajahat, what message do the tweets send? ALI: Well, unlike Ben and President Trump I don't make moral
equivalences between white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis last week with the senate in Charlottesville and the thousands of peaceful anti- racist protesters today. What it shows is that there's a double standard for President Trump. If there is an act of domestic terrorism last week which yet a week he is yet to call it an act of --
ALI: Wajahat, we have Mayor Marty Walsh speaking right now. And I'm sorry. I don't mean to cut you off. Let's listen.
MAYOR MARTY WALSH (D). BOSTON: There's a lot of work done to be able to come in and to be able to protest. To be able to express themselves all the way from Roxbury community college, all the way to Boston common. I was at the Roxbury community college and you felt a sense of pride there. That people will say how great we are in the city of Boston.
So I want to thank all the people that came out today. I want to thank all the people that came out to share that message of love, not hate. To fight back on racism. To fight back on anti-Semitism. To fight back on the white supremacists that were coming to our city, on the Nazis coming to our city. I want to thank everyone that came here today. I want to thank everyone who came here to express themselves in such a positive, great manner today.
I also want to take a special moment to thank the members of not just the Boston police department. But the police department, the state police, as well as any other law enforcement authority. EMT, fire department, for helping us.
What people don't understand is that many of the people that we have working today, they were ordered in to work. It was their day off. It was their Saturday, their weekend. But they came in here. They carried themselves with dignity. And I'm proud of that work. And I'm proud to the fact that here in Boston we are able to have a very successful day.
Again, I want to thank you. I'm going to turn this over to commissioner to talk more details about the day itself.
WILLIAM EVANS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Thanks, Mr. Mayor. Like I said, the day -- you know, for the most part, it went off just as we had planned. I think you are clearly seeing we had both -- we had both group, demonstrators separated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you speak up a little bit more?
EVANS: Yes. There was three groups of protesters who came here today. There was obviously, you know, the group -- you know, the one for free speech. We had those who opposed the free speech and we did have people who came here to cause problems.
But overall, I thought the men and women of our department and all the other agencies who helped us performed really well. You know, it was a long day, it was a hot day. And, you know, the separation worked well. When we went to move them out, there was a little bit of a confrontation. I think you see public order platoons come out. That was the plan. As you know, I was hoping we wouldn't have to bring them out, but I thought they did a good job of moving that crowd. That's what they're trained for. Sometimes it doesn't look pretty but that's what they're trained for. I watched how it was done and I thought they did a great job. I was witnessing bottles being thrown at them, cones, a lot of insults but they held the line well. Overall, everyone did a good job. 99.9 percent of the people here were for the right reasons. That's to fight bigotry and hate for the most part here today. We knew we were going to have some people who would cause problems. We had to make the latest is 27 arrests so far today. Most of them disorderly. A couple assault and batteries on police officers. And other charges. But overall, I thought we got the first amendment people in. We got them out. And, you know, no one got hurt. No one got killed. And we don't really have a whole lot of -- in fact, we have no significant at all property damage to the city. So great day for the city. And I'm really impressed. We probably had 40,000 people out here. You know? Standing tall against hatred and bigotry in our city. And that's good feeling.
[16:40:43] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commissioner, it seemed like the free speech (INAUDIBLE). Was it smaller than you expected, did you have any problems with them? When did you decide to put them in transport vans?
EVANS: Well again, I didn't anticipate a whole lot, you know. We had meetings with the individual who was leading it. And based on our discussions, I knew what we going to expected to tell you the truth. And that is a why we had the strategy. And we had the exit strategy out the back. And that worked well. Unfortunately as you had seen we had some kids block the street and it got a little confrontational but they were given every opportunity to move and we had to do some pushing and shoving there.
But even there, I was there, they were getting hit with bottles and getting pushed and I thought they did a good job of moving that crowd, you know. So you know, the plan worked -- went off the way we hoped to. And thank God nobody got hurt seriously. In fact, very little injury and very little property damage today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you -- the perimeter between the protesters and the counter-protesters rally. How far back (INAUDIBLE).
EVANS: Well, I think it was set up that way for a few reasons. Number one, we didn't want what happened in -- you know, in Virginia to happen here. We didn't want them at each other's throat. Also, there was a lot of talk in the week leading up about bottles being thrown with urine at our officers and I wanted to make sure that you know you had to -- you had to good arm to throw and get at them.
So you know, we basically wanted them separated. And I'm sorry to report we did have some bottles thrown at our officers that did have urine in it. A couple of our officers were hit with that. They were hit with a lot of stuff today. I'm very proud of the job they did. And it goes to the professionalism of this department.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How wide was the space between the counter- protesters and the rally?
EVANS: I didn't measure it, but I would estimate probably 35 yards, 40 yards.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many --
EVANS: Again, we don't talk about numbers here. And that's to do a great job the way they did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commissioner, the President tweeted maybe an hour or two ago, there were quote "many anti-police people here." Would you agree with that?
EVANS: I won't get into politics here. We had a plan to get everyone safely today and get out. So I'm not going to get into anything. I'm really proud of people the way they came and stood up for hatred and bigotry and I'm more proud of the way my officers handled that crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commissioner, the organizer of the free speech rally said they planned to do a longer program, but the police shut that program down. Is that accurate?
EVANS: No, not to my knowledge. You know what? They came in here. We made it clear. They had their speakers. I think they knew 20,000 people were approaching. And so that was -- that was, you know, mutual agreed that they would get in to the wagons and we used the wagons to just get them out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said some of the speakers had plans. That they had planned on joining the free speech rally were not allowed through the perimeter to get to -- to listen to the speeches or participate. Is that --?
EVANS: You know what? We had a job to do. We did a great job. I'm not going to listen to people who come in here and want to talk about hate. And you know what? If they didn't get in, that's a good thing. Their message we don't want to hear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last question.
EVANS: Yes, I thought, you know, again, if you looked at us, we pedal biked almost 20,000 the people down here. We all stop. We got in here inside the perimeter. We had our bicycle officers. We had officers with soft hats. It wasn't until we weren't able to get the wagons out here on Boylston Street that we had to bring the public order platoons out to get them out safely. And I thought that went real well. There was a lot of pushing and shoving there but that's the way they were trained. And I thought they did the best they could under the circumstances. And you know, I'm proud of the way they did it. We train up for events like this. And, you know, we handled occupy and handled patriots parades. And I was confident in the job they would do. I think you have seen it done today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there anything (INAUDIBLE).
EVANS: What's that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything you would have done differently security
[16:45:01] EVANS: I mean, we will have a team back after this. We always debrief after this. But you know what? We had a plan. We kept the distance. No one got hurt. We have no vandalism. No nothing. So I couldn't ask for more, you know. Obviously I wish the troublemakers stayed away. But we anticipated them. They weren't here for either side. They were here just to cause problems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, folks. Thank you --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
EVANS: What's that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
EVANS: Well, we don't know if they are white supremacists. I can tell you we did stop three individuals who every one of them had ballistic vest on. And when we got the vest back to the station, one of them had a gun on him. So there are people who came here I think to cause some harm but we were lucky to get those three out of here and confiscate the vests.
So, you know, between the bottles and everything else, again, I'm just fortunate that none of my officers got hurt. None of the public got hurt. And, you know, overall, it was a good day for the city and saying that we won't tolerate hatred and bigotry in our city. People came out to say, Boston is united. That's not what our policy is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks, thank you so much.
CABRERA: OK, that was the Boston police commissioner William Evans there. We also heard from the Boston mayor Marty Walsh. Both of them emphasizing a peaceful protest that took place in Boston today.
There were a number of arrest, 27 people who were arrested. But as the police commissioner just said, no one was seriously hurt. No one was killed. There was no significant property damage and in his words he said 99 percent of the people there were there for the right reasons and that was to fight bigotry and hate. And keep in mind, there were what he said an estimated 40,000 people who showed up today.
These are still images. You can still a number of people who are continuing to protest there in the streets of Boston. The President was also putting out more tweets during those comments that we were hearing and listening in on. Let me read them for you and we will put them up.
He writes, our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest and order to heal and we will heal and be stronger than ever before. And he went on to say I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one. Again, those are the very latest words from the President. Earlier
today he tweeted looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart. Thank you.
I want to bring in Polo Sandoval. He has been on the ground all day long witnessing the events of the day unfolding.
Polo, what's your take away?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting here too are some of the numbers, right? About 27 people who were arrested, their charges will be - they will be facing a variety of charges from assault to battery, disorderly conduct as well.
Also, close to 40,000 people turned out which is really what we saw, this massive crowd. And it was interesting too is the commissioner really staying away from some of the politics in this. Obviously the commander in chief tweeting about an hour and a half ago, which he was describing some of the demonstrators as quote "anti-police agitators."
The commissioner didn't want to get into that. However, he did say his words that he wished the quote "troublemakers" did not necessarily make their way out here. But again, some of the other angle here, maybe other takeaways from this press conference is of course that there were no major injuries. His officers were not injured and also the damage was very minimal, if any at all, Ana.
CABRERA: All right, Polo Sandoval in Boston for us.
Again, the big take away according to the police commissioner ending that conference saying this message is Boston is united. Very peaceful protest for most part there today.
We will take a break and be right back here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:53:39] CABRERA: We have an incredible discovery to tell you about. The USS Indianapolis lost on July 30, 1945 after being hit by a Japanese torpedo during World War II has been found. These are images of the wreckage, the first time anyone has seen this ship in more than 72 years. The cruiser was found more than 18,000 people below the ocean's surface by a team of civilian researchers. The ship was immortalized by the famous speech in the movie "Jaws."
The Indianapolis had just finished secretly delivered parts of the atomic bomb that would be drop on Hiroshima. That's the 800 of the 1200 sailors and marines onboard survived the sinking. But after four to five days floating at sea, only 316 were found alive when help finally came.
On tonight's brand-new episode of "declassified," a sophisticated terrorist organization of white supremacists attacks the Pacific Northwest. And a team of FBI agents must find and neutralize the threat. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this country, we have fanatical violent hatred based on right wing supremacists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will stand in the streets. We will march, we will do whatever we have to do (bleep) the communists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people, they want a pure Aryan nation.
[16:50:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are willing to do anything to punish and kill people who are not part of the white race.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Be sure to tune in to "declassified," untold stories of American spies right here on CNN.
We are back in a moment.
[16:59:45] CABRERA: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Hello on a Saturday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Up first, thousands of counterdemonstrators converged on Boston overshadowing the self- described free speech rally. All this comes just a week after the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Often police say today's march and rally were full of peaceful protesters except for occasional clashes and shouting matches. Just 27 people were arrested.
President Trump tweeting about this regarding the protesters looks like many anti --