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THE SITUATION ROOM
Charlotte Tense, National Guard Mobilized after Riots; Tulsa Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter; More Police Shootings, and the Aftermath; Trump Reaction to Shootings Examined; Afrucan-Americans and 2016 Election. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 22, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TAPPER: -- on Twitter or @TheLeadCNN. I now turn you over to Wolf Blitzer. He is in THE SITUATION ROOM. Thanks for watching.
[17:00:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now. Breaking news. State of emergency. Tension grips Charlotte after two straight nights of rioting and looting. Now, now that the governor has declared an emergency and mobilized the National Guard and state troopers, what will tonight bring? Our crews are live on the streets of Charlotte.
Dash-cam controversy. Charlotte's police chief insists video of an African-American man's fatal shooting won't be made public and admits it doesn't definitively show whether the man pointed a gun. I'll ask the police chief if he thinks releasing the video would calm the anger or make it worse.
Stop-and-Frisk. Donald Trump calls for a controversial police tactic that's been ruled unconstitutional. He's also lamenting, quote, "a lack of spirit between the black and the white." As we approach the first presidential debate, should candidates talk more about race relations?
And manslaughter charge just now breaking. The Tulsa police officer who fatally shot an African-American man on Friday now faces a felony charge, manslaughter.
I am Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news in Charlotte, North Carolina, where police, state troopers and the National Guard, they are now out in force. After two nights of rioting, North Carolina's governor says he won't tolerate any more violence or destruction of property. But ministers vow they'll gather peacefully tonight at the spot where a demonstrator was shot and critically wounded during a protest against Tuesday's fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, an African- American.
A short time ago representatives of the dead man's family pleaded for calm. They say Scott's wife saw the shooting and that Scott's family believes he did not own a gun. Authorities say Scott was armed, but police won't release the video. I'll ask Charlotte's police chief why not. Also breaking, authorities in Oklahoma just announced they filed a
first-degree manslaughter charge against the Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby, in last Friday's fatal shooting of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher after his SUV broke down.
The head of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks, he'll join us live tonight. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
Let's begin with CNN's Brian Todd. He's in Charlotte for us. Brian, what are you seeing right now?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the city is simply reeling. Community leaders telling us they still can't believe what they've seen here.
This is an example of some of the damage. This building sustained several broken windows and doors. This door boarded up a short time ago, but there's still broken glass on the ground here.
Right now, Wolf, the city and its residents growing edgier by the hour as nightfall approaches, hoping we do not see a repeat of what we saw last night.
TODD (voice-over): Smashed windows and chaos in Charlotte...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch out!
TODD: ... as nighttime protests over Tuesday's police shooting only seemed to escalate. For hours, uptown Charlotte a powder keg of confrontation. Some throwing objects.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And glass is again being thrown. OK.
TODD: Others looting storefronts. And police deploying tear gas.
One person shot, unclear by whom, and in critical condition after a hectic evacuation through the crowd.
ROBIN TANNER, CHAIR, CHARLOTTE CLERGY COALITION FOR JUSTICE: It was chaos underneath there.
TODD: Even members of the media assaulted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
TODD: Forty-four arrests overnight for failure to disperse, looting and assault. Officials admit they need help.
CHIEF KERR PUTNEY, CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG POLICE: We couldn't be as responsive as we needed to be as quickly as we needed to be, because our resources were being pulled in so many directions.
TODD: Pressure tonight from activists and others for police to release video of Tuesday's shooting.
REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER II, PRESIDENT, NORTH CAROLINA NAACP: There must be transparency, and the videos must be released.
TODD: The police department says they want to show the video to the family, since they requested it, but not to the public.
PUTNEY: If you think I say we should -- we should display a victim's worst day for public consumption, that is not the transparency I'm speaking of, sir.
TODD: An attorney for the family spoke this afternoon.
JUSTIN BAMBERG, ATTORNEY FOR SCOTT FAMILY: The family requested to be able to view that video. And later on this afternoon we will, in fact, review that video.
TODD: A former police union official who has seen a video of the incident said it shows that Keith Lamont Scott was holding a gun.
TODD WALTHER, FORMER PRESIDENT, CHARLOTTE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: He was armed when he exited the vehicle. He didn't listen to commands from the officers and drop the weapon. And he made an obvious threat to the officers.
TODD: Scott's daughter, in a Facebook live feed, disputed the police version of Tuesday's incident.
LYRIC SCOTT, DAUGHTER: My daddy ain't had no (EXPLETIVE DELETED) gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No justice, no peace!
[17:05:06] TODD: As nightfall approaches, officials warn against a repeat of the past two nights.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Those who destroy property or hurt other people will be dealt with.
TODD: The governor has declared a state of emergency and has called in the National Guard and state troopers for help, adding several hundred more personnel. But not everyone welcomes the step.
MINISTER CONNIE MACK, PRESIDENT, NAACP CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG BRANCH: That was not egregious enough for the National Guard to come into our city.
TODD: Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney says the National Guard, more than 360 of them will be deployed to protect buildings and other infrastructure. The state troopers that are being brought in will handle traffic. He says his officers will be more assertive in making arrests tonight if they need to. But he says he does not plan on imposing a curfew at the moment, Wolf. Although the chief does say he may rethink that determination later.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us from Charlotte.
CNN's Ed Lavandera was knocked over while reporting for CNN last night. He's back with us from Charlotte right now. He's fine.
Ed, the family is watching that dash-cam video even as we speak right now. Is that right?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's our understanding, that the family -- the attorneys for the family -- the family was actually supposed to make a public statement here this afternoon, but their attorney, the family's attorneys say that the family is too emotional and not ready to speak out publicly.
And after they left here, the attorneys said that they were on their way to go view those videos for the very first time. As you heard, the police chief was making that available to them.
It's not exactly clear, though, Wolf, if -- what kind of reaction the family will make or how -- if they will make any statements after they've witnessed the videos. So we'll have to see that. But it's our understanding that that has either already happened or in the process of happening.
BLITZER: Ed, last night things got pretty ugly. Our viewers saw you actually get knocked to the ground by a protester. So what is the city bracing for tonight?
LAVANDERA: The situation -- they're bracing for more of what we saw last night. Obviously, you'll hear the refrain from -- over and over from the police officials here in the city that prepare, you know, for the worst and hope for the best. So they're bracing -- bracing for that.
There is a peaceful rally that's been scheduled for tonight at a church here in Charlotte. What happens after that is something that many people are still waiting to see and how all of this is going to play out, Wolf.
BLITZER: And you're OK, Ed? Because a lot of us were watching last night when you got hit like that. Are you OK? Everything all right?
LAVANDERA: Yes, we're fine. We've got a great team of colleagues here and photographers and producers. And, you know, we've got each other's backs. So we're fine. Thanks.
BLITZER: All right. Ed Lavandera on the scene for us as he always is. Joining us now, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney.
Thanks so much, Chief, for joining us.
CHIEF KERR PUTNEY, CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG POLICE: Yes, sir. Thank you for having me.
BLITZER: All right. So you've said that you don't want to release the video to the masses, that it will not provide what you call definitive visual evidence that Scott actually pointed a gun at police. But why not release the video anyway and let the people of Charlotte, the rest of the country, see what happened?
PUTNEY: Well, what I am doing is allowing the family to view it. They've asked, and I have that authority. I'm not going to release it, because, ultimately, I think I have to do what I can to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Also, I don't want to set a bad precedent that I'm releasing lots of video, and I think you could be destroying some of the trust of some of our most vulnerable victims, especially those of domestic violence and sexual assault.
BLITZER: If the family were to ask you -- they're watching it, we understand, even as we speak, right now. If the family says, you know, "Please release the video," would you reconsider?
PUTNEY: Well, what I can do is -- what I'll tell you is I have a lot of people who are weighing in, and I'm being very intentional about listening to what I'm hearing.
But the -- what's also afoot is we're not going to be the lead agency who handles this investigation moving forward. So my ability to do so is going to be significantly more limited any way.
BLITZER: Who's the lead agency that's going to handle this?
PUTNEY: It's going to be our state bureau of investigations. And that is the independent investigative authority here in North Carolina.
BLITZER: The mayor, as you know, mentioned there was also body camera video in addition to the dash-cam video. Is there footage from that, as well?
PUTNEY: We do have some body-worn camera footage and some dash-cam footage, yes, sir.
BLITZER: And are there additional cameras around the scene that may have captured what happened from nearby stores or buildings, for example?
PUTNEY: All of that is still being pieced together. We're looking at all footage that might be available. And I -- we do have some additional body-worn camera footage but not specific to the incident itself, not showing anything that is relative to give us a better understanding of exactly what occurred.
[17:10:14] As far as businesses, this area doesn't have businesses next to it. But we're still reviewing any available footage and asking the public, if they have some, to bring that to bear on this incident, as well. BLITZER: Chief, does -- does any of the video you've seen actually
show Keith Lamont Scott, the victim in this case, with a gun? And the second part of the question, does any of the video actually show him pointing a gun at the police?
PUTNEY: As I said before, I don't have any visual definitive evidence that I can show -- I can see him actually holding and pointing a gun at an officer.
The issue, though, is what I've seen is I'm not able to see the correct angle to see a weapon in his hand in the first place. The footage I've seen doesn't give me that vantage point. So I don't see what an officer at a different angle would see.
BLITZER: What about him holding a gun? Forget about whether or not he was pointing it at a police officer. Was he actually holding a gun? Is that on camera?
PUTNEY: Again, the angle in which he's standing, I can't see his hands. Therefore, I can't see a weapon in his hands or him pointing a weapon that would be in his hands. I can't see, based on the angle, that definitive piece of visual evidence that I need.
BLITZER: But you say you've recovered a gun. Is that correct?
PUTNEY: Yes, sir. It is correct. We have various statements that he had the weapon, that he wouldn't drop, after repeated verbal commands. And at the incident there, there is a weapon recovered right there in close proximity to the subject.
BLITZER: And you're convinced that was his gun? Have you checked fingerprints, for example, on that gun?
PUTNEY: We're -- we're doing a lot of evidence -- investigative evidence such as that. I can't really speak to that right now.
As I said, the investigation is being taken over by the FBI. And I'll have to let them handle those questions.
But what I can tell you is the preponderance of physical evidence there supports exactly statement that, yes, he had a weapon, yes, he refused to drop that weapon, and our officer fired as he perceived that imminent threat.
BLITZER: The Scott family's attorneys just suggested in a news conference that witnesses said the gun may have been, in their words, pulled out of the car. Is that possible?
PUTNEY: What I can tell you is that does not fit the evidence that we have and the statements that we have as evidence, that that was the situation at all.
So I can tell you there are a lot of perspectives, a lot of realities around this. And while we're investigating it, we're on a fact- finding mission, not trying to have a perspective that would challenge anybody else's. And right now, the good thing is, there is an independent investigative body that's going to take up the fact- finding mission and will report out the findings in a new future.
BLITZER: What is Brentley Vinson, the police officer who shot Keith Lamont Scott, what has he told you about the incident?
PUTNEY: Well, he was interviewed by detectives. And his -- his statement of the facts, as he recalled it, support the initial information that we put out?
BLITZER: Could you review that? I just want to make sure that we're all precise. Absolutely. Sure. They encountered a subject. He is in a vehicle. He is armed. They are telling him to drop the weapon. He gets out of that vehicle, armed. And the officer, Vinson, perceives an imminent deadly threat, and he responds by shooting Mr. Scott. And unfortunately, later at the hospital, Mr. Scott died of his injuries.
BLITZER: And do you believe this police officer? Do you have credibility that he's telling you the truth?
PUTNEY: Well, listen, I'm a skeptical person by nature, but all the other physical evidence, all the other statements that we're getting from people who were there to witness it.
And, again, I can't gloss over the fact that there is quite a bit of physical evidence that support what he said and the sequence that he gave for the situation unfolding. So yes, I believe he's absolutely being truthful.
BLITZER: Last night a man protesting was shot by another civilian. Some clergy leaders today in Charlotte said that -- they said today they think bringing in the National Guard troops -- you're bringing around 300 or 400 troops to patrol the streets tonight. They think that could exacerbate the situation and make the violence even worse. Are you concerned? Do you worry that it could?
[17:15:06] PUTNEY: Sir, I worry about virtually everything. This is not a job that gives you an opportunity to sleep much at night. So obviously, I'm concerned about a lot of things.
But I take comfort in the fact that, at this point we have additional resources which increases our capacity to be able to handle any issues that we encounter. It allows us to protect First Amendment rights to free speech. We will do that, as we always have. But also we're going to hold people accountable for criminal behavior.
BLITZER: What are you bracing for tonight?
PUTNEY: Again, as I said, I'm hoping for the best, prepared for the worst. I'm glad that the state and the governor allowed us to have an additional resources to free up our people. They're going to protect the infrastructure and our people will be the ones engaging the protesters if they show up. Community members in general, if they show up. And anybody who wants to do the city harm, we'll engage them, as well.
BLITZER; Chief Putney, good luck to you. Good luck to the police force. Good luck to everyone in Charlotte. Let's hope it stays quiet and peaceful tonight. Thanks so much for joining us.
PUTNEY: Thank you. On behalf of all the good officers are at CMPD, I appreciate the opportunity to talk to you, and I look forward to talking to you in the future.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department chief, Chief Putney joining us.
Up next, the hour's other breaking story. A Tulsa police officer now face a charge of first-degree manslaughter in Florida's fatal shooting of an African-American man. The president of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks, he's standing by live and will take our questions.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[17:21:03] BLITZER: Breaking news we're following. Take a look at these live pictures. These are National Guard troops in North Carolina. They're getting ready to move into Charlotte. The governor has ordered National Guard troops to start patrolling the city tonight, fearful of a third night of violence potentially erupting. About 350 troops will be moving into Charlotte. They're getting ready to move in as we speak.
The president of the NAACP is standing by to talk about the situation in Charlotte.
We see members of the National Guard. We just saw them standing by.
There's breaking news elsewhere we're following. Authorities in Oklahoma just announced minutes ago that they've filed a first-degree manslaughter charge against a Tulsa police officer, Betty Shelby, in last Friday's fatal shooting of a 40-year-old African-American man, Terence Crutcher.
CNN's Sara Sidner is in Tulsa for us. So Sara, what is the district attorney saying?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing from the district attorney Steve Kunzweiler. He explained why it was that this charge was coming down but did say that they are seeking her and expecting her to come in and turn herself in here in Tulsa.
He said that she is being charged with manslaughter in the first degree, heat of passion. That is the charge here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is a felony. So we're talking about potential jail time for this officer.
Again, Betty Jo Shelby, the police officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, is being charged with first-degree manslaughter, heat of passion. That is a felony here in Tulsa.
We are expecting to hear more details, but we have seen a list that was put into the court of many of the people, the witnesses. Many of them are fellow officers who have been put on that witness list. There is also a signed statement from someone saying that they want her to be charged. We know the family has said very clearly they wanted her to be charged with murder. This is a lesser charge; this is manslaughter.
But it has only been a couple of weeks since this incident has happened. This is very fast movement compared to a lot of other places in this country. But the district attorney has looked at the evidence and so far believes there is probable cause to go ahead and charge this officer.
We have also heard from her attorney. Her attorney has been saying all along that she feared for her life, that she believed that the person in the video that everybody has seen, that helicopter video, with his hands in the air then turned to the car, and she was worried that he was reaching into his car.
But the attorney for the Crutcher family has disputed that and talked about the fact that he has very enhanced video and pictures showing that the window was up, and he was not -- would not have been able to reach into the car.
Clearly, the district attorney has looked at a lot of this evidence. We do know that the family attorney did hand some of that evidence over to the district attorney, letting him see their evidence, and of course, the police have their evidence that the D.A. has been looking at and decided that this was worth a charge. Manslaughter, first degree, as they put it, with heat of passion, a felony -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara Sidner in Tulsa for us. Thanks for that report.
Joining us now is the president and CEO of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks. Cornell, thanks very much for joining us.
CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PRESIDENT/CEO, NAACP: Sure.
BLITZER: Let me get your quick reaction to what we just heard from Sara. First-degree manslaughter, a felony, in connection with the shooting of this African-American man by this police officer, Betty Shelby, in Tulsa. Your reaction.
BROOKS: My reaction is one of many and most Americans. That is to say we extend our sympathies to the family of Terence Crutcher and note that, in the midst of their grief, they must be, as we all are, heartened to see some small measure of justice.
When a man calls 911, has his hands in the air, is confronted by the police, he expects, or she, any person would expect help, not to end up with a bullet inside of them. Not to lose their life. And so this is heartening news in the midst of a tragedy. We certainly await the investigation. We certainly await the prosecution.
[17:25:12] But bear in mind. It is rare that a police officer is charged, rarer still that a police officer is held accountable. But we are at a moment in this country where last year we lost 950 people at the hands of the police. Thus far this year, 706 people, 15 in the state of Oklahoma. This feels like a state of emergency for policing. So while this is
some measure of heartening justice in the short term, we've got a long-term problem, and that is the very, very beginning of a process.
BLITZER: All right. So Cornell, let's talk about what's going on in Charlotte. And as we're speaking, National Guard troops are being deployed to the streets of Charlotte. About 350 or so are moving in under the governor's orders to try to patrol the city tonight, try to avoid a third night of violence.
You heard the police chief, Kerr Putney in Charlotte, just tell me that he's not planning on releasing any of the video, the dash-cam video, the body camera video. Do you agree with that decision? Or do you want to see all that video released?
BROOKS: Well, we are apprehensive about the fact that we have an abundance, if you will, of law enforcement and National Guardsmen on the ground, but a poverty of information about this tragedy. In terms of the loss of Mr. Scott's life.
And so what we have seen over and over across the country is that, where you provide information to the public, where you make as much information available as quickly as possible, transparency aids the peace.
It is not particularly effective to call on advocates in the faith community to keep the peace when, in fact, we are not keeping and securing justice by letting the people know exactly what happened as quickly ae you can. So the release of that video, as quickly as possible, would aid justice and aid the peace. Particularly where you have communities of color that feel as though their humanity, their dignity, their very lives, are being stolen from them. So the release of that video would help, not harm.
BLITZER: As you know, last night it was very violent in Charlotte. There were injuries to nine civilians. One very, very serious injury. Five police officers were injured, 44 arrests. Is it a good idea to deploy National Guard troops there tonight?
BROOKS: It's a good idea to have as much law enforcement as is necessary to keep civilians and police officers safe.
But note, this -- we can't police our way out of a police misconduct problem. We can't -- we don't have enough National Guardsmen to provide that measure of stability and security.
What we have to hear -- have here is a measure of justice. That means releasing the videotape. It means being transparent with the family.
But it also means, it also means that protesters and demonstrators protest and demonstrate without engaging in violence. Because if communities of color are subject to violence, if we have our lives, our dignity, our humanity stolen from us, the last thing we want to do is to engage in violence.
The last thing we want to do is to give any misbehaving police officer or anyone who's engaged in any kind of misconduct, state-sanctioned violence, if you will, a get out of jail free card. We have to conduct ourselves with non-violence, with discipline, even while we hold those who have engaged in violence accountable.
BLITZER: In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., are you fearful that moving in National Guard troops tonight could make the situation even more dangerous?
BROOKS: Absolutely. What we have seen over and over again is, when we militarize situations of civilian unrest and anxiety, that that can make the situation worse. In other words, you have a so-called solution that makes the problem exorbitantly worse.
What we want to do here is have just enough law enforcement to keep the peace. But we need justice to keep the peace. That means providing the community with information, with the videotape, engaging protesters, demonstrators, about what's going to be done to prevent further loss of life.
You don't have enough tanks. We don't have enough body armor. We don't have enough military equipment to police our way out of a situation where there's a chasm of distrust between the police and the community. The only way to bridge that chasm of distrust is a measure of justice.
That's what's important here. The National Guard, it is as important as it is. But, we need far more than that. And, we need far less of them.
BLITZER: Cornell William Brooks, the President and CEO of the NAACP. Cornell, thanks as usual for joining us.
BROOKS: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Donald Trump proposes a controversial crime-fighting tactic which had been ruled unconstitutional. We're going to bring you reaction to the unrest in Charlotte from both presidential candidates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Charlotte, North Carolina, is a city on edge tonight. The city reacting to the fatal shooting of an African-American man by a police officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Charlotte's police chief just told us that the body camera footage of the shooting does exist. We're going to keep monitoring the situation. The unrest is drawing starkly different proposals from the two leading presidential candidates.
Our Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta is following the Trump campaign. He's joining us from Pennsylvania right now. Jim, what's the latest?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Donald Trump is calling for racial healing in the wake of the rioting in Charlotte but his campaign is once again finding new ways to turn off African- American voters with offensive rhetoric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: After the violence in Charlotte, Donald Trump is all but blaming President Obama for the racial wounds opened up in another American city.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our country looks bad to the world. Especially when we are supposed to be the world's leader. How can we lead when we can't even control our own cities?
ACOSTA: Even though he has used divisive rhetoric time and again, Trump is offering himself a uniter in chief.
TRUMP: We all have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, see things through their eyes, and then get to work fixing our very wounded country.
ACOSTA: The GOP nominee is both diagnosing what he sees as the root causes of urban unrest.
TRUMP: It just seems that there's a lack of spirit between the white and black.
ACOSTA: And prescribing a new national crime strategy. Suggesting that illegal drugs were partly to blame for the rioter's actions in Charlotte.
TRUMP: And, if you're not aware drugs are a very, very big factor in what you're watching on television at night.
ACOSTA: But, the Trump campaign is having a hard time preaching racial harmony after one of its Ohio County Sheriff's Kathy Miller told the Guardian Newspaper.
KATHY MILLER, FMR, VOLUNTEER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIR, MAHOONING COUNTY, OHIO: Now you know with the people with the guns and shooting up neighborhoods and not being responsible citizens that's a big change, and I think that's the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America. I think that's all his responsibility. And, if you're black and you haven't been successful in the last 50 years, it's your own fault. ACOSTA: Hours after her remarks surfaced Miller resigned saying "My
personal comments were inappropriate and I apologize." Adding to the mixed messaging Trump's running mate, Mike Pence dismissed the notion that police departments aren't inherently racist.
MIKE PENCE, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump and I believe that there's been far too much of this talk of -- of institutional bias or racism within law enforcement.
ACOSTA: And Trump is still grappling with another issue that offends African-Americans in particular; his long-held belief that President Obama wasn't born in the U.S. Now he says he only claimed to change his mind on the subject so he could move on politically.
TRUMP: Well, I just want to get on with -- you know, we want to get on with the campaign. A lot of people were asking me questions and, you know, we want to talk about jobs, we want to talk about the military, we want to talk about ISIS.
ACOSTA: The Clinton campaign's response, "Trump only gave his 30- second press statement last week to try to change the subject - and it didn't work."
Trump is facing an uphill battle with African-American voters who overwhelmingly prefer Clinton. And, he may have made matters worse by endorsing stop-and-frisk, a controversial police tactic previously used in New York before being found unconstitutional in federal court which ruled it unfairly targets minorities.
TRUMP: I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York. It worked incredibly well. And you have to be pro-active.
I see what's going on here, I see what's going on in Chicago. I think stop-and-frisk.
ACOSTA: Trump later said he was only recommending stop-and-frisk to address violent crime in Chicago.
TRUMP: I was referring to Chicago with stop-and-frisk. They asked me about Chicago and I was talking about stop-and-frisk for Chicago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now after the violence in Charlotte, the subject of race in America is likely to come up at this next debate -- this first debate coming up on Monday Wolf. And after mocking Hillary Clinton's extensive debate preparations in a campaign memo. The Trump campaign now says Trump will hop off the campaign trail tomorrow so he can prepare and get ready. But that campaign memo from Donald Trump's aides say he will be himself at this upcoming debate, Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta joining us from Pennsylvania, thank you very much. Let's continue the discussion with our political experts. David Chalian when you hear the language Trump uses saying for example the African-American community is in the worst shape ever. Saying there's a lack of spirit between the white and the black, blaming riots on drugs. Does he have that right vocabulary to talk about these very sensitive race injustice issues?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I don't think it's just a vocabulary issue. I'm not the vocabulary police here but I do think that, if you are talking about implementing stop-and-frisk, if you are saying that African-Americans have never had it worse ever, ever, ever, and sort of ignoring slavery and Jim Crow as President Obama pointed out. And, you know, if you are now saying that you have announced that you believe the President's born in the United States but then follow that up with an interview where you said the only reason you are saying that is because you wanted to move on in the campaign. So for political reasons you're saying that. That is not the playbook by which you go about trying to woo and attract African- American voters.
So there's no -- there's nothing in there in sort of his policies that he's discussing and how he's discussing this that is going to attract, I think, more African-American voters. As that's said, Wolf, you see in Jim's piece, the latest NBC "Wall Street Journal" graphic poll that had the 7% African-American support for him which is about where Mitt Romney was in 2012.
So he's not significantly underperforming the last republican nominee. Of course, Mitt Romney did not win the election.
BLITZER: And that's -- that is correct. Rebecca Berg. Trump as you know, proposed this stop-and-frisk as a solution to the crime problem. He says he's recommending that it be reinstated -- or instated in Chicago. That tactic, though, was deemed unconstitutional by one federal court for its disproportionate targeting of African-Americans and Hispanics. So what message does that send to voters?
REBECCA BERG, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, there are two sides to this for Donald Trump. On one hand he's trying to sound tough. He's trying to project this message of law and order that has been a central theme of his campaign, especially in the general election. And it's worth noting that this is a policy that plenty of people did push for before that court ruling. Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York is a prominent person who comes to mind who really pushed for stop-and-frisk even as it was very controversial and in light of a few rulings that said it should be struck down.
But, Donald Trump, at the same time, is trying to appeal to a broader swath at this stage, to minority voters, especially African-American voters in states like North Carolina. And, also to college-educated white voters who have been turned off by his very divisive language in some cases. And, so promoting something like stop-and-frisk, which is a very polarizing issue, a very polarizing policy, and obviously has been reformed in Chicago and New York, it's a big risk for him because he's really doubling down on the law and order message while maybe subtracting from the strength of his other message of unifying people.
BLITZER: David Swerdlick, Donald Trump also seemed to take a small step forward by saying he believes President Obama was born in the United States. But, then he said in response to a question he only said it so he could move on with his campaign. What would it mean if Trump won in November without, for example, ever apologizing for his effort to delegitimize the first African-American President?
DAVID SWERDLICK, ASSISTANT EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, Wolf. He said he just wanted to get on with the campaign. And, what immediately comes to mind is, well, for the last five years that he's been pushing this birther narrative America just wanted to get on with being America and hasn't been able to do that at least when it comes to Donald Trump in part because of this birther issue.
Look, if he's President on January 21st, which is not that far away, I think this is a situation where it would -- he would do well to think about the fact that some of the racial tension that we see in Charlotte and other places is going to partially be on his plate. He is a guy who in the "Wall Street Journal" poll and the "Washington Post" poll is in single digits among African-American voters. And, people are going to be not just looking at him, but in part looking to him to try and heal the racial divide. President Obama will be off the clock and President Trump would have to address these things.
BLITZER: Brianna Keilar, as you know Hillary Clinton has struggled with younger African-American voters out there. The latest incidents in Tulsa, in Charlotte, what kind of impact do you believe, if any, that will have?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I don't know when you're talking about one specific thing. She certainly has a lot of headway that she has to make because there is a lot of suspicion coming from younger African-American voters, specifically because of her support of her husband's crime bill in the '90s.
So she's come out and one of the first things that she did early on in her campaign was to talk about criminal justice reform. But there's a lot of suspicion, Wolf, from young black voters who feel like -- and actually the crime bill did contribute to this era of mass incarceration that she is now railing against. This is why she's enlisting President Obama. He may have more sway than just something that she's going to say about what we're seeing in Tulsa, and North Carolina.
He will be trying to -- he has and he's going to continue to try to mobilize young African-American voters and, to put it into context why this is so important.
KEILAR: When you're looking at this key voting block for democrats, 25% of black voters are between the ages of 18 and 34 according to census data. So this is, you know, a block that cannot be ignored and that she really needs to speak to with some proposals that they see benefit them and their generation.
BLITZER: Good point. David Chalian, North Carolina, as you know, has seen what they call moral Monday protests against many of the initiatives of the republican-controlled state legislature including what they see as a voter suppression law that was recently struck down. So, how is that overall political landscape in North Carolina impacted the response to this shooting in Charlotte?
CHALIAN: Well, it is a good question, because when a new story like this becomes dominant, and obviously it's dominant for us nationally. But in North Carolina, obviously, it's getting total saturation kind of coverage. That could have impact. And as you know, Wolf, North Carolina is one of the closest states, went to Barack Obama in 2008. Mitt Romney in 2012. Both Clinton and Trump campaigns have been there a ton. The candidates have been there. They are very focused on it. And it's within a couple of digits. 15 critical electoral votes. And, this is the type of thing that can motivate the base for the democrats.
But, as Rebecca was saying, it also could allow Donald Trump to motivate the law and order portion of his base. So, I think it's something that fortifies each base of the party right now. Core Trump supporters, and part of the Obama coalition that Hillary Clinton needs in North Carolina.
BLITZER: Everyone stand by. We're keeping an eye on Charlotte, North Carolina, right now where officials are bracing for more unrest following a night of rioting.
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BLITZER: We're going to bring you the latest information. Stand by.
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BLITZER: We're following breaking news in Charlotte, North Carolina. The National Guard troops now mobilizing to prevent a third night of rioting after the fatal shooting of an African-American man by police. Charlotte's Police Chief just told me that police body camera footage of the shooting does exist.
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BLITZER: Also tonight, the wife of the New York bombing suspect Ahmed Rahami is back in the United States.
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BLITZER: Investigators hope she can fill in key details about Rahami, including possible terrorist connections.
Our Chief National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto is joining us. He has the very latest on the investigation. What are you learning, Jim?
(END VIDEO CLIP) JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, really incredible new details about the bomber's actions just before and after setting off that explosive device here in New York City. Including this remarkable detail - that after he carried out the attack that injured more than two dozen people, he actually returned to his home in New Jersey, even met with members of his family before he was publicly identified as a suspect. But still, an alarming detail as they piece together his timeline before and after those attacks.
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SCIUTTO: Tonight, investigators constructed a detailed timeline of terror suspect Ahmad Rahami's movements during his bombing spree, leading up to this shootout two days later when police captured the terror suspect him in New Jersey.
New in the timeline, Rahami returned to his family's home in Elizabeth, New Jersey, after carrying out the bombing in New York City. This, according to law enforcement sources. Though he had just allegedly injured more than two dozen people and terrorized two states, family members told investigators Rahami was acting normally when they saw him Sunday morning. This was before he was publicly identified as a suspect.
Investigators pieced together much of the timeline using surveillance footage and tracking Rahami's cell phone. Investigators, however, have yet to interview Rahami, who is now unconscious and intubated in a New Jersey hospital. Doctors could clear him for potential questioning in the coming days.
Rahami has already been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction among several other charges.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK: The Police, the FBI, everyone wants to get a lot more information from him. We've got more work to do. There's a couple of people of interest out there we would like to talk to.
SCIUTTO: One such person is Rahami's wife, who is now back in the U.S. after being questioned by the FBI first in Dubai. She is not considered a suspect.
REP MIKE POMPEO, (R) KANSAS: There's many questions that remain unanswered from his wife. They want to understand his pattern of life, the things he did, the individuals he hung around, trying to draw any connections out that might suggest further links and further individuals who are out there intending to do the same kind of harm.
SCIUTTO: And now another urgent search underway. 24 hours after releasing this surveillance photo, the FBI is still looking for these two men who, on the night of the New York attack, were seen removing a second unexploded pressure cooker bomb from a piece of luggage before leaving the scene. Though not considered suspects, authorities still want to talk to them.
BLASIO: They may know something about the devices that were used. They may -- even people who were stopping by but still could give us some context of what they saw.
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SCIUTTO: I spoke to a senior law enforcement official tonight here in New York. He says that they've had a number of leads on these guys. They haven't panned out. They do not believe they're involved, at least at this point, but they are interested in that bag. There may be evidence in that bag that speaks to the explosives that were used. Wolf?
BLITZER: Including fingerprints. All right, thanks very much Jim Sciutto reporting.
Coming up, we'll have the latest on tonight's breaking news.
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BLITZER: Charlotte's Police Chief tells me that body camera footage does exist of the fatal shooting that sparked two nights of rioting.
BLITZER: Police state troopers and now National Guard troops they are mobilized to try to keep the peace. Tonight, we're going live to Charlotte. That's next.
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