Return to Transcripts main page
President Trump on twitter and in person so far declining to label those responsible as hate-filled extremists; Words of a Christian pastor in the Deep South going viral; Pentagon is focused on finding a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear threat; Two soldiers were killed and five were hurt during the fight against ISIS in Iraq; Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 13, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:08] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. It is great to have you with us this weekend, a tragic weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Right now so far no flare-up of fighting like the kind that sent people to the hospital this weekend and cost one woman her life. White nationalists and other hate group members battled in the streets with the police initially unable to stop them. And then things turned deadly when a car accelerated into a crowd of counter-protesters. The driver of the car, a 20-year-old man arrested and held without bail right now.
President Trump on twitter and in person so far declining to label those responsible as hate-filled extremists. The governor of Virginia today had no such hesitation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: As you know, we had folks come to our beautiful state, let's call it for what it is. They were white supremacists. They were Nazis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call their names!
MCAULIFFE: They don't stand for us. They call themselves patriots. Ladies and gentlemen, they were not patriots. They get out of bed every day to hate people and divide our country. As I said yesterday, go home. Leave our beautiful city!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now from that city of Charlottesville is CNN's Brian Todd.
Brian, the man in jail right now believed to be the one who intentionally drove into that crowd of people killing a woman. What are police saying about him and what is next in this investigation? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Ana. We have got some new
information about this suspect, James Alex Fields, 20 years old from Miami, Ohio. We have just obtained some records indicating that he served in the U.S. army for about four months between August of 2015 and December of that year. The records do not indicate why he separated from the army after such a short time. We are digging around trying to find out more information about the suspect.
What we have learn, though, is that according to his former teacher he did hold some fairly disturbing views when he was in high school. His teacher is Derek Weimer and he spoke to member of the media about those views that James Alex fields held. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEREK WEIMER, CHARLOTTESVILLE SUSPECT'S FORMER TEACHER: I mean, he had some very radical views on race. He was very infatuated with the Nazis and with Adolph Hitler.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Now separately, some members of the media in Ohio caught up with the suspect's mother. Her name is Samantha Bloom. And she told the Toledo blade and some other members of the media that the last time she saw her son was when he departed Ohio for Virginia. He told her he was going to a rally. She did know what it is for. She thought it had something to do with President Trump. She was very distraught over what she was told by members of the media had happen here in Charlottesville and broke down in tears. Very heartbroken mother there in Ohio.
We have learned that the justice department is investigating this as part of a civil rights investigation. Officials at the justice department are telling us tonight that they are looking into whether the suspect James Alex Fields might have had accomplices. There is no hard information to indicate that's the case, but they are looking into it, looking into whether anyone might have helped him in this incident.
He is to be arraigned tomorrow morning, Ana, charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of failure to stop at an accident which involved a death.
So Ana, he will be in court tomorrow, we are told, via video appearance from jail.
CABRERA: Brian, give us a sense of how people in that community are dealing with what happened? How are things there now?
TODD: Ana, things are fairly quiet on the streets now. But I can tell you that the anger here has not calmed down since yesterday. People here are extremely angry because of what has happened in this town over the past 48 hours. I mean, when you think of it, you start with that torch light march through the University of Virginia campus on Friday night where there were some scuffles and some people hurt when these white supremacists marched through the campus. The of course, yesterday, all the violence and the fighting and the street between the white supremacists and the counter-protesters. Then the horrific car strike just a few feet away from us here on Fourth Street where this young lady Heather Heyer, 32 years old, was killed.
Today, the white supremacist who organized all of this, Jason Kessler tried to come back here and have a news conference. He was shouted down. There was violence. There were people screaming at him. The police had to swarm in and shuttle him out of here for his own safety. One man was arrested for misdemeanor assault and battery for spitting at Jason Kessler. He was taken here to the Charlottesville police department for his own safety. They then got him out of here so it was a nasty scene here today.
He later tweeted that he tried as best he could to express his views, but that free speech was basically tamped down for him. So you know, again, some real tension here and some real anger here, Ana, that Jason Kessler has stuck around to try to espouse his views.
[19:05:07] CABRERA: All right. Brian Todd reporting there for us in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Meantime, we are getting new information about this investigation. Just in to CNN federal investigators have enough evidence, we are learning, to be suspicious that the suspect in that deadly vehicle incident that Brian was just telling us about in Charlottesville, James Fields Jr., intended to send a message and not just harm the immediate victims according to a justice department official familiar with this investigation. Of course, that is still continuing, the motive, they say, is not yet clear specifically at this point. It will be important in determining whether this case gets deemed a domestic terrorism case.
Now just moments ago we want to honor the victim and we are now hearing from her mother. The mother of Heather Heyer, 32-year-old who was killed in Charlottesville. She was a paralegal, we have learned. The mom speaking out for the first time since losing her daughter. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN BRO, HEATHER HEYER'S MOTHER: It was important to her to speak up for people that she felt were not being heard, to speak up when injustices were happening. And she saw in the lives of many of her African-American friends, particularly and her gay friends that equal rights were not being given.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now, a short time ago the governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe said there could be no two ways to say it, that the people responsible for this deadly violence in Charlottesville this weekend were driven by hate, bigotry and intolerance. He implored the people occupying the White House to use the same clarity and language.
I want to bring in Virginia's lieutenant governor Ralph Northam. And lieutenant governor, thanks for spending time with us. First of
all, we are so sorry for what has happened in your community, what happened yesterday. How did it get so bad there in Charlottesville?
LT. GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: Well, Ana, thank you for having me with you tonight and to your viewers as well for tuning in and it's been a horrific couple of days in Charlottesville. And you know, to have someone come into a beautiful city where we have a beautiful University of Virginia and to just be spewing hatred and bigotry and a white supremacy group that would do this, there is no place for that in the commonwealth of Virginia. And so our hearts go out to the victims. And I am so sorry for Heather's family. And we lost two state policemen, just brave individuals last night in a helicopter crash. And so we are rebuilding - we have started the healing process today. And I have been in Charlottesville for most of the day.
CABRERA: We just got this new reporting that we read right before our segment. I'm not sure if you had heard, but what we are learning regarding the investigation in that individual who is now accused in this deadly event this deadly terrorist incident that many are calling. And even though it is still being looked into in terms of using that term legally, they said he was intending to send a message. What's your response or reaction?
NORTHAM: Ana, this group came into, again, a very peaceful, great city in Virginia and they brought with them their hatred and bigotry and fear and they did have a message. They came in with torches. They were walking the streets with semiautomatic machine guns. Again, they came in with the intentions of sending a message. And I believe hurting people. And this one individual weaponized his vehicle yesterday afternoon and ran down the street and killed Heather and wounded a bunch of other Virginians. And we just -- that's not what Virginia is about. And the governor and I have made it very clear to white supremacy and other groups such that they are not wanted in Virginia and we strongly encouraged them yesterday and this morning to go home and don't come back.
CABRERA: Lieutenant governor, I don't know if you are in touch with the investigators, but if you are, can you tell us? Do you know whether they believe that this individual was acting alone or whether he may have planned an attack with other individuals?
NORTHAM: Ana, our attorney general Mark Herring has been in touch with them. But as a lieutenant governor, I have not been in touch with them so I can't comment on that investigation.
CABRERA: Now, you did talk about how you -- you were ready for this group. You knew why they were planning to come into Charlottesville. And in fact, we know ahead of time there were about a thousand police officers or law enforcement and first responder officials who were on scene and preparing to respond to any potential violence and yet we did see somebody lose their life and dozens of people who were injured.
Are you satisfied with how law enforcement responded to this event? NORTHAM: You know, I can't thank our first responders enough. I was
at the hospital this morning at the University of Virginia to thank the first responders, to thank those that are on the staff.
You know, this was an act of terror yesterday afternoon. An individual that weaponized his vehicle. And you know, we got through this weekend, Ana, without a shot fired and I think that's commendable for our law enforcement. And these things are hard to prevent and sometimes predict, but it's a terrible tragedy. And Virginia woke up this morning, we are a stronger commonwealth and we will move forward from this and learn lessons.
[19:10:19] CABRERA: Lieutenant governor, the organizer of the Unite the Night rally, he blamed local officials and law enforcement for the escalation yesterday. Let me read you a quote from his statement.
"The blame for today's violence lies primarily with Charlottesville government officials and the police officers who failed to maintain law and order, protect the first amendment rights of rally participants and provide for their safety."
How do you respond?
NORTHAM: Ana, he is being illusion. Well, he is being illusion. This is a very peaceful and proud city of Charlottesville. We have a wonderful university there. They are not looking for trouble. This was something that was brought in by a group of white supremacists with hatred and bigotry. And so it was totally one-sided. And you know, we have done the best.
And again, I would just encourage these folks that they are not welcome in the commonwealth of Virginia. We encouraged them to go home this morning and I hope they never come back because we don't want them here.
CABRERA: We know ten people are still in the hospital being treated. What can you tell us about them and their condition?
NORTHAM: Well, I'm a physician, as you know, Ana. I'm a pediatric neurologist and they are doing wonderful work at the University of Virginia. I think that these individuals are going to be OK. But there are still some that are sick and need medical care. And I can't thank the University of Virginia staff, their doctors, their trauma unit, their surgeons, all of the nurses and support staff that just did heroic work yesterday to save these individuals' lives.
CABRERA: When you talk about the healing of those individuals, of your community, of your state, is it important to you that the President comes and visits?
NORTHAM: You know, our governor and I and our attorney general have done everything that we can to denounce the violence that we saw, the hatred and the bigotry. And we would just encourage all of our elected officials starting at the top to not condone this violence, this type of hatred and bigotry. And you know, I think he could learn a lot by coming to the University of Virginia, to Charlottesville and visiting the hospital and talking to law enforcement and just hopefully realizing that anything that divides this country is not a good thing. And so we can't condone this kind of behavior. And again, we hope that they don't come back to the commonwealth of Virginia.
CABRERA: Lieutenant governor Ralph Northam, thank you very much for spending time with us.
And again, we are so sorry for what you are having to deal with. But we are having important discussions now. So thank you again for being part of it.
NORTHAM: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Still to come this hour, the words of a Christian pastor in the Deep South going viral. His powerful message to white Americans in the wake of the violence in Virginia.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:17:02] CABRERA: In the wake of the deadly terror in Charlottesville, words from a Christian pastor in the Deep South are going viral. And I want to read you part of an essay of pastor John Pavlovitz and I quote.
"This is racism. This is domestic terrorism. This religious extremism. This is bigotry and blind hatred of the most vile kind. It does not represent America. It doesn't represent Jesus. It doesn't speak for the majority of white Americans. It is a cancerous, terrible, putrid sickness that represents the absolute worst of who we are. No, naming it won't change it, but naming it is necessary nonetheless," end quote.
Joining me now pastor John Pavlovitz in North Carolina.
John, thanks for spending time with us. What compelled you to write this?
JOHN PAVLOVITZ, PASTOR, NORTH RELEIGH COMMUNITY CHURCH: Well, I have been a local church pastor for the past 20 years, Ana. Most of that spent in the bible belt here in North Carolina. And more times than I can count, I have seen personal prejudices in the church. I have seen systemic injustices. And I have seen the way that the church fails to represent and often protect people of color, LGBTQ community and Muslims. And so the response yesterday to Charlottesville was just maybe the most recent and the clearest example of what I call the white church's conspiracy of silence on matters of race. Their sort of failure to name racism and they avoid that messy place that I think is the place for Jesus call us to be, So that's why I wrote it.
CABRERA: So what kind of a response did you see prior to writing that? What was the response you were finding?
PAVLOVITZ: Well, largely silence or if not silence softening language that avoids naming racism as racism and white supremacy as white supremacy. Really, failing to call out those things as they are so that we can deal with them. And so the church is notorious for that, sadly.
CABRERA: Since you wrote this, what kind of reaction have you received?
PAVLOVITZ: Well, it's been tremendous, but it's been encouraging. I think you see people when you put words out there, you see the number of people who say yes, this speaks for me. This is my heart. Often, people say I'm a person of faith and this is me. And what happened in Charlottesville, there's no place for that. It's a disconnect that kind of attitude that's a disconnect to Christianity.
CABRERA: It spoke to me. I thought it was incredibly powerful. I want to the read a little bit more of your essay, and I quote "this is our national history being forged in real-time and to use words lacking clarity, now would be to risk allowing the ugliness off the hook or to create ambiguity that excuses it."
Pastor John, from your view, why do you think people are fuzzy about what happened in Charlottesville or are kind of soft in terms of talking about racism?
[19:20:00] PAVLOVITZ: Well, we don't want to see what's in the mirror, I think. You know, racism in this country, whether individual or institutional is nothing new, obviously. But what I think what you have right now is a group of people who are sort of bent on violence and they are consumed with hatred for people who aren't like them. They are filled with an irrational fear and largely some of that is because they have been radicalized by the conservative Christian church. And so they are emboldened because they know they have a President who won't name racism or white supremacy or Christian extremism. And so, I think we don't want to see who we really are and we don't want to deal with that.
CABRERA: John, you had a very clear message to white people in this essay. Would you read it for us?
PAVLOVITZ: Yes. White people especially need to name racism in this hour because somewhere in that crowd of sweaty, dead-eyed, raw- throated white men are our brothers and cousins and husbands and fathers and children, those we go to church with and see in our neighborhoods. They need to be made accountable by those they deem their own kind. They need to know that this is not who we are, that we don't bless, support or respect this. They need white faces speaking directly into their white faces loudly on behalf of love.
CABRERA: John, based on what we have seen or heard so far, do you think enough white people are speaking out?
PAVLOVITZ: Well, I think what you are seeing now is people are standing on the shoulders of other people so once some people begin to speak others do. And so the people who shared the piece that I wrote are doing that. And so we are seeing people who are saying, you know what, there is no place for white supremacy or racism in Christianity. People of faith should never be practicing this, because antithetical to what the best of faith is supposed to be.
CABRERA: Why do you think it is the responsibility of white people to stand up and speak out?
PAVLOVITZ: Well, I think, in matters of when people are being marginalized, we expect the marginalized groups to speak out. But it is rare that those who are among the marginalized ears, the ones who are oppressing people, their voices carry in a different way. And so white leaders in the church and white politicians and the people in the highest levels of our government have a responsibility to speak now. We need to come alongside people who are being made invisible or rendered silent.
CABRERA: Pastor John Pavlovitz, thank you so much for sharing your words with us.
PAVLOVITZ: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Coming up, frightening words today from a neo-Nazi website celebrating the President's remarks after the violence in Virginia. How should the President respond? We will discuss here in the NEWSROOM.
[19:27:04] CABRERA: Some neo-Nazis are celebrating the President's remarks yesterday in which he condemned violence on many sites following the deadly clashes at a white nationalist rally.
The Daily Stormer, it is a neo-Nazi Web site writes this about President Trump's remarks.
Quote "Trump comments were good. He didn't attack us. He just said the nation should come together, nothing specific against us. He said that we need to study why people are so angry and implied that there was hate on both sides. There was virtually no counter signaling of us at all. He said he loves us all and refused to answer a question about white nationalists supporting him. No condemnation at all. When asked to condemn, he just walked out of the room. Really, really good."
With me to discuss CNN political commentator Paris Dennard and Symone Sanders. Paris is the former director of Black outreach for the Bush White House. Symone is the former national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Paris, if these neo-Nazis are celebrating the President's remarks, did he say the wrong thing?
PARIS DENNARD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think he said the wrong thing. I think that no matter what the President says, these neo-Nazis, these ignorant individuals who are un-American are going to say what they want for propaganda and media attention.
I think they are just as irrelevant as David Duke. And the more we give them attention, the more we give them a platform, the more they are going to talk and use anything that they can to insinuate that this President, this White House or Republicans agree or co-sign or have anything but negative feelings toward the ignorant remarks that they continued to make on behalf of their foolishness.
CABRERA: And yet Paris, just last week, President Trump spoke off- the-cuff and he threatened nuclear war with North Korea. Yesterday, he carefully read the statement that explicitly did not mention the words KKK, white supremacy or white nationalism. Are we to believe he is not capable of speaking his mind and speaking directly when he wants to about what he wants to?
DENNARD: I think anybody who has watched this President's campaign and his presidency thus far knows that President Trump says exactly what he means and means exactly what he says. And then when you listen or read the speech or the remarks that he gave just after the incident, he said that he found that the -- he said they were immoral and talked about the problems that we have in this country as it relates to that. But no, he did not explicitly say that there were neo-Nazis and they were KKK or that they were somehow bigot. I think that at the appropriate time he is going to do that.
And like I said yesterday, when President Obama gave his remarks gave his remarks just after the Charleston shooting, he did not call them out. He later did do such. And I think that the President will do the same. He responded right after the incident and he said that these people were bigotry. And this hatred and violence have no place in this country --
[19:30:07] CABRERA: But let me ask you -- I want to get Symone in here, too. But Paris, let me just rephrase my question for you.
CABRERA: Because if this were a situation in which it was somebody who was Muslim who was under arrest or somebody who was a Mexican immigrant who had crashed into this crowd of people, do you think the President would have this exact response if the tables were turned and it were somebody else?
DENNARD: You know, I don't know. I don't deal in hypotheticals, but I will say this. The President -- no one should listen or read the President's remarks and feel that he did not denounce the acts that happened yesterday. No one should read or listen to President's remarks and feel as if he is somehow condoning the behavior, the attitudes or the comments or disgusting actions of that one individual yesterday.
Would he have reacted stronger if he was a Hispanic or a Mexican or Muslim? I don't know. I don't deal in hypotheticals. But what I do know is that this President and this administration is moving in the right direction and at the appropriate time which I know it is going to be soon, the President is going to give his full remarks just like the President did in past administrations.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Ana, if I may, you know, the appropriate time would have been when someone lost their lives at the hands of white supremacy and that was yesterday. A young woman is dead because neo-Nazis, white supremacists took it upon themselves to take up arms and quote-unquote "take back their country." That is rhetoric that they have aligned with the President -- the current President of the United States.
Now, if Donald Trump does not want to align himself or seem as though he is condoning these actions, he has to speak to it specifically. And the problem with they condemnation as our colleague Jake Tapper tweeted yesterday is that you don't necessarily, you know, you open yourself up for interpretation. And so what we have seen is these neo-Nazis and these white supremacists have seemingly aligned themselves with our current President of the United States.
I'm not saying Donald Trump is a white supremacist. But currently he is seen as though he is hesitant to denounce this specific group of people and that is dangerous. Words matter. Look, I'm a communications person, when working with principals and working with folks crafting statements every single word especially if you are the President of the United States is going to be scrutinized. So words matter.
And when the President adlib yesterday and included the line quote- unquote "on many sides," he opened himself up to the criticism that he has been experiencing from Democrats and Republicans throughout the last 24 hours.
CABRERA: Symone, the President has been unusually quiet today on twitter. He hasn't tweeted anything. He hasn't made any public appearances. What does that silence tell you?
SANDERS: Well, you know, in times like this, silence is complicit. And so I implore the President of the United States, his aides to urge the President to stand up and speak out. He has to use the words white supremacy. He has to use words neo-Nazis such as Ivanka Trump did. He has to use the words KKK because that's what it is. And we have to call it out when we see it and denounce it.
Donald Trump is running the risk of seeming as though he doesn't want to alienate this certain group of people, these white supremacists. And I don't think anybody wants to be on the side of white supremacists in this country. So if you don't want to be on their side and if you don't want to be accused of sympathizing with their calls, call it out when you see it.
CABRERA: Paris, you said you don't want to talk about hypotheticals. So remember back in June when Islamic extremists drove into a crowd of people in London, President Trump was very quick to criticize the mayor of London. He tweeted quote "we must stop being politically correct and get down to business of security for our people. If we don't get smart it will only get worse."
Should he have as passionate a response in this instance as he had then?
DENNARD: Again, just because he did not use the word neo-Nazi, white supremacist or KKK does not mean that he did not have an impassioned response. He texted to Symone's point, condolences to the victim on yesterday - that happened yesterday.
SANDERS: Condolences to the victim that was armed -- she wasn't just accidentally hurt in, you know, like a march. She was killed, targeted in a rally by white supremacist neo-Nazis. This is not your run of the mill violence, if you will.
DENNARD: Nobody insinuated -- listen --
SANDERS: Paris, by not using intentional on moo.
CABRERA: Hold on. One at a time. Let Symone finish and then Paris.
DENNARD: She interrupted me, but go ahead.
SANDERS: By not using intentional language you are insinuating. Look, if anyone thinks that rhetoric doesn't move people to act, I implore you to look at what happened in Charlottesville yesterday. This rhetoric is causing people to quote-unquote "take up arms to take matters into their own hands and kill Americans." We saw ISIS tactics used yesterday and I want the President to call that out.
[19:35:02] CABRERA: Paris, you can have the last word.
DENNARD: All I'm saying is the President did condemn the attacks yesterday. He called it out for what it was. He did not use terms that others would like him to use and I think in the coming days and weeks he will. But let's not mistake his statements for being on the side of these idiots. He was very clear on that. His tweets and his remarks were clear.
SANDERS: He wasn't clear or we wouldn't be having this segment.
DENNARD: No, we would be having this segment because you all would pick and choose, which you wanted and find a mince words. You didn't have this passion when President Obama didn't do it. So don't be --.
CABRERA: To be clear -- let's be clear. It's been -- let me get this in for a second, Symone.
And this isn't about Democrat versus Republicans. In fact, Paris, there have been a litany of Republicans who came out and said the President a words weren't strong enough and he should have been more specific.
Guys, we got to take a quick break. Thank you both for joining us and weighing in on this situation.
Now, the attorney general says justice will be served in Charlottesville and we will talk about the justice department's own civil rights investigation into the deadly events here next live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
And some live images from Seattle. I want to let you know we are continuing to monitor the protesters there and they are countering rallies once again and an alt-right rally in the wake of the violence we saw in Charlottesville. There is a large police presence. At one point police were forced to use tear gas on the ground. And for the most part the demonstrations have been largely peaceful. But we are keeping an eye on it.
Again, that happening right now live in Seattle. Stay with us here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:40:48] CABRERA: The department of justice has now opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly events in Charlottesville. Attorney general Jeff Sessions saying in a statement the FBI has been supporting state and local authorities throughout the day. U.S. attorney Rick Mountcastle has commenced a federal investigation and will have the full support of the department of justice. Justice will prevail.
I want to talk about this investigation now with Michael Moore. He is a former U.S. attorney in Georgia and Cheryl Dorsey. She is a retired LAPD police sergeant and author of the book "Black and Blue."
Michael, this is a civil rights investigation. So what exactly does that mean in terms of the types of crimes they're looking into?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA: You know, the department has exclusive jurisdiction to look at civil rights cases. And I think probably they will be looking at a couple of things. One would be with whether or not this is a conspiracy against civil rights. And that means if they have an agreement this fellow who ran his car into the poor lady, do they have an agreement with somebody else to cause harm based on some ideological belief or because of somehow race or sex or sexual orientation, that type of thing.
There is also a hate crime statue. I'm not sure that we will get to a hate crime statute because that statue must it talks more about the victim. It means like somebody takes an act because the victim may be a certain color or certain sex or have a certain national origin or have a certain sexual identity. And I don't know that they will be able to prove in this case or get in this case whether or not this guy knew that about the particular victim in the case.
CABRERA: So under the umbrella of a civil rights investigation is domestic terrorism part of that?
MOORE: Well, domestic terrorism is something certainly that the department will look at. And I think the truth is that's what we ought to be calling it. I'm baffled by the hesitancy of anyone to just come out and say this is an act of terrorism. My guess is if fellow had been wearing robes and (INAUDIBLE) as oppose to t-shirt and blue jeans, we would have called it domestic terrorism about 30 seconds after it happened. But in this case, for some reason, say it to be hesitancy about that.
I think there is (INAUDIBLE). I was listening to your prior guest. There is a lot of administration spin doctors that they are talking about don't criticize the President because he is not using certain words like black supremacists and terrorism and that type of thing.
The irony is that prosecutors will be looking specifically at the words of this defendant used to establish his intent. So there is irony to say on the one hand it really shouldn't matter. However, it's those things that give us and on the other hand at least from the department's perspective and investigation that will give us some intent as to what was in this perpetrator's mind.
CABRERA: OK. And Sergeant Dorsey, we did hear from a former high school teacher of this suspect who talked about some of the rhetoric he had heard from this suspect previously as one of his students talking about his praise of Nazis and Adolph Hitler. What kind of other evidence might be part of this investigation?
CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD POLICE SERGEANT: Well, certainly they are going to look at, you know, his activities on social media. They will probably be researching his associates, friends and affiliates in terms of whatever kind of communication he may have shared with those Facebook postings are going to be an important part of his mindset and how he came to form the opinions that he has.
CABRERA: Now, in addition to all of the police officers who were at the park, there were members of the National Guard, we learned. Is there a case to be made that the authorities didn't act quickly enough or could have done something differently and would that be a part of the investigation, sergeant?
DORSEY: Well, listen, hindsight is 20/20. And if we knew, of course, authorities would have acted in a different manner. And so you try to as best you can prepare for this. And I'm understanding that the authorities did the best that they could in terms of having personnel available and ready in the event of violence. And so you do the best that you can, given the information that you can. And sometimes acts of violence are not possibly prevented because we have to be proactive rather than reactive. And in this case, who knew that this gentleman, that this young man would get in a car and plow through citizens?
CABRERA: Michael, what is the biggest difference when it comes to charges being filed at the state or local level versus at the federal level.
MOORE: Well, in the federal level, there is a very rigid review process that would be from the local U.S. attorney's office and the many department of justice. But from the state perspective they would have made a little bit more flexibility on how they charge. They certainly have a straight murder charges you don't see in the federal charging system. They would have a little bit more flexibility on what they charged.
When you think of what happened the other day, it's amazing to me that we basically let the first amendment get hijacked by people who wanted to march it under the cover of darkness where (INAUDIBLE) and then surround themselves by people who like I guess go out in the woods and roll around and play G.I. Joe or something in a militia group. And then would have want to come back and pay for what to blame the law enforcement who are after.
They are walking a fine line. And that line is making sure that the rights of the protesters are protected and the rights of the anti- protesters are protected. So when you have people hijack the first amendment and come in and use it to do nothing but spice, hatred and bigotry and racism, then, you know, I think you are mostly lighting a powder keg and at some point it is going to go off. And the more weak-minded people like this particular defendant are probably going to act and we know that.
So it's a tragedy all of the way around. And I just wish that our elected leaders would be more courageous and come forward and called it exactly what it is and that is both a cowardly act of terrorism.
CABRERA: Michael Moore and Cheryl Dorsey, thank you both. We appreciate your time.
DORSEY: Thank you.
CABRERA: The events in Virginia far from the first case of domestic terror in this country. Up next, a history of hate in America.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:50:58] CABRERA: President Trump strongly condemned hate and bigotry on many sides after this weekend's deadly violence in Charlottesville but he failed to specifically call out white nationalists. Today, White House official released the following statement saying the President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.
Joining us now is CNN's Sara Sidner.
Sara, all these groups involve, White supremacists, the outright, the anti-fascists, break it down for us because I know you have been looking into this groups and trying to learn more about who they are.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I sat down with some of the heads of some of these groups. And for the most part, they say things that are quite racist when it comes to white supremacist.
Let me talk about white nationalists first and kind of give you an overview and look at what it is they believe. This is coming from the seven popular law center which attack hate. They say that white nationalists support white supremacy ideologies. Some openly use racial slurs who incite violence. There are groups within the white nationalist movement that claim that they are not violent organizations. That they just want white ideals and they don't want to be a minority for example, in this country. And then you have got the extreme, the categories, the KKK, the neo-Nazis and then neo- confederate. And then you have the alternative -- I think we have heard quite a lot
about over these past few months since Donald Trump has become president. And there's a kind of schism between the alternative right or the alt right and the alt-right. The author that why generally has a core believe that white identity is under attack by multi-cultural forces in America and across Europe. They are focusing on the preservation of western civilization, obviously, civilization from Europe and the name which coined by Richard Spencer whose the head of a white nationalist think tank. I do want to remind you that Richard Spencer was the one after Donald Trump won the presidency saying, hail Trump, hail victory, which is neo-Nazi speak or Nazi speak and then people came up and were using the Nazi salute during one of his speeches. And so that is where he lands.
Very important to mention this, the fact that Donald Trump himself, not a statement from the White House, but the President himself did not condemn white supremacy, did not condemn racism or did not condemn the groups that were out there and spewing such hate against everyone.
Here's how the white supremacist saw this. This is the most extreme of the white supremacy movement, a neo-Nazi has a Web site called the Daily Stormer. It is very popular among the white supremacy group and here's what the head of that Andrew England (ph) said after listening to the President when it comes to Charlottesville, Virginia.
He said Trump's comments were good. He did not attack us. He just said the nation should come together. Nothing specific against us. We asked to condemn, when asked to condemn he just walked out of the room, really, really good. God bless him.
So what they see when the President refuses to actually condemn white supremacists is, he's giving them a thumbs up in saying I support you. That's a huge problem.
CABRERA: Sara Sidner, thanks for all that good information.
We are back in a moment.
[19:58:19] CABRERA: Just in. The nation's top military officials says the Pentagon is focused on finding a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear threat. Even as President Trump insists the military is locked and loaded. Joint chiefs, chairman, General Joseph Dunford is in South Korea and said quote "as the military leader, I have to make sure that the President does have viable military options in the event that the diplomatic and economic pressurization campaign fails. Even as we develop those options we are mindful of the consequences of executing those options and that makes us have more of a sense of urgency to make sure we are doing everything we absolutely can to support secretary Tillerson's current path."
And some sad news tonight, on an already devastating news day, the U.S. military confirming two soldiers were killed and five were hurt during the fight against ISIS in Iraq. No official word yet if this was the result of enemy contact. The military is still investigating. The commander of the combined joint task force releasing this statement earlier.
Our deepest condolences to these heroes' families, friends and teammates. I hope there is some small solace in knowing their loss has meaning for our country. The fallen service members were fighting to defeat a truly evil enemy and to protect our homeland.
Our thoughts are with those soldiers and their families tonight.
That's going do it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for spending part of your weekend with us. We really appreciate it. CNN's the 90s starts right now.