tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN August 19, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
you're in the "cnn newsroom." i'm ana cabrera in new york. up first, thousands of counterdemonstrators converged on boston. overshadowing the self-described free speech rally. this comes a week after the deadly violence in virginia. today's march and rally were full of peaceful protesters. except for occasional clashes and shouting matches. 27 people were arrested. president trump tweeting about this. regarding the protesters looks like many anti-police agitators in boston. police are looking tough and smart and then moments later, great job by all law enforcement officers and mayor walsh. sarah sydner has more. he has since tweeted a couple of hours. let me read those to you. i want to applause the many protesters in boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. our country will soon come together as one. what did you witness today?
>> reporter: so what we saw was about -- according to the boston police commissioner 40,000 people descend on boston common and in the streets here which is quite a large number. what we're seeing right now is complete peace and calm. the only thing left is the remnants of you know the police officers who were here who were sort of patrolling on their bicycles. and you did have a crowd just in the middle of that street earlier today. just a few moments ago. they dispersed. it was interesting to note that the police came through that crowd, decided to disengage, went all the way through the crowd. yes, they faced some taunts but they got through the crowd and eventually the crowd just sort of left and went their own way without any issues. however you heard from the police commissioner there were 27 arrests here today. but the vast majority of people came and did what they were supposed to do as he put it. they were here for all the right reasons. he said 99.9% of the people came here to peacefully protest in this city and that is what they came for and that's what police planned for.
he said look, for the most part everything went as planned. ana? >> organizers had described their event as a free speech rally. what do you know about the groups that were taking part in the original rally and also help us to understand, you know, the many people who -- the 40,000 people who also came out and wanted to counter hate as we heard from the mayor and the police chief or commissioner. >> reporter: yeah, i think that it's interesting because you know they called themselves a free speech rally. a lot of people are saying, why would anyone protest free speech? the issue here was some of the people lined up to speak earlier some of them pulled out of the rally to be fair and one of them spoke at the charlottesville rally. and another person in berkeley who now has charges against him for being violent in berkeley. what you sort of see here, people see that as a red herring. say you're calling it a free speech rally but actually what you're here to do is to spew
hate. that was the big concern and why thousands of people decided to take to the street because they were very worried that it would be similar to what happened in charlottesville. now, the organizers of the free speech rallied said they're not racist or anti-semites but they believe in people speaking their mind. even if it's hate speech. in this country of course you have the right to counter that. that's what the 40,000 people or so just did. >> sarah sydner, thank you so much. let's get straight to our panel. with us abc news political commentator dana rohrabacher, tara stet meyer and also ben ferguson is back with us. on tuesday, the president is accused of defending the white supremacists. is his reaction to the protests and the protesters today in boston most of whom were peaceful and marching against hate according to sarah sydner the right reaction? >> no. you know, i don't understand this.
there were 40,000 or so protesters, counterprotesters out there today. and i believe 27 were arrested. that's about 0.7%. so why given the decisive week that we have, given the disaster of a response that the president had to charlottesville focusing on -- having a false moral equivalence as far as i'm concerned with the counterprotesters in charlottesville. why would he choose when he could have today chosen to give a supportive, unifying message there, to focus on the 0.1% of bad actors? it goes to show you how obstinate and intransigent this president is when it comes to catering to a certain aspect of his base that he seems not to be able to get passed no matter what the circumstances are. even when it requires rising to the higher level of moral leadership. he's just not able to do it. >> ben, the president now says
he wants to applause the protesters in boston so he did put out a couple of follow-up tweets. but minutes before that he said they looked like anti-police agitator, many anti-police agitators. >> look, i think he was supporting the police and i think you heard from the police commissioner a moment ago when he talked about we needed separation between some of these individuals an we knew that there were planning on throwing basically urine bombs at some of our police officers and some were hit with the urine bombs. i have no problem with the president applauding the police and he's talked about how this has been overall i think a good day. it's nice to see that there are so many people that came out to speak out against bigotry, hate and racism today. i think that might be one of the greatest things that we saw in boston. i also think it's amazing the job that the police did in. they should be applauded for not only really being able to keep the peace, but also finding these agitators, arresting some of those agitators and keeping their head about when someone is
throwing urine bombs at you. i think this is a good day overall. i don't have as much -- i guess you could say, you know, negative thoughts about the president today and what he said because we should applause law enforcement when they do such an incredible job. >> sure. >> people -- >> but what happened to the president -- hold on a second, tara. i want to -- i want to follow up with ben because remember the president said he wanted all the facts before speaking out when he was referring to charlottesville. and his first reaction here was to say looks like many anti-police agitators are in boston. >> well, look at what's on the screen right now. pretty clear there's some anti-police agitators. >> but the police commissioner said that 99.9% of the people -- >> absolutely, no doubt. >> they're there for the right answers to counter bigotry and hate. >> it took one guy, one guy, to kill an individual and put many others in the hospital last week. >> exactly. >> small groups of people
unfortunately can do a lot of harm. i don't -- again, i do back to -- i'm not a cynic on everything here. i think supporting and applauding the police in boston for doing such a great job, having no loss of life, and also the president did talk about how the majority of the people there were peaceful in fact. but the police commissioner said it clearly. they knew all week long there were people talking online and planning on going after the police. and they were able to basically win at that game today. i applaud the police. more importantly, the fact that so many people showed up today to fight against racism and make the racists look like such a small group which they are, that's a good day for america. >> tara, you wanted to respond. >> yeah. you know, look, ben, of course we applause the police. and of course we are -- we should celebrate peaceful protesting. it's -- those are givens. the issue here is that if the
president had simply just said that, and said what you said actually which would have been a great tweet that we -- you know, this is a great day for america, to see peaceful protests and countering hatred and bigotry. what is so difficult? but the president has to get his dig in there. and like i said, he's going focus on the 27 or 30 people that were violent out of the 40,000? i just don't -- it just speaks to his character and his thought process and his perspective on what he thinks is important. maybe if he stops watching "fox & friends" and gets a balanced view point, maybe we'll get a difference response. i can tell you what's what happened. he's probably at the golf course. he was watching fox news. and they focused on the couple of agitators because i saw a video over there where they were showing a woman that was -- they were showing a woman that was assaulted holding up an american
flag. that was awful. but -- >> do you think -- tara, do you think the president is moving in the right direction though? his last tweets 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. our great country has been divided for decades. sometimes you need protests in order to heal and we'll heal and be stronger than ever before. >> yes, that's a step forward. if he hadn't started off with the impulsive tweet which was the many anti-protesters. i'm sure someone said hold on after -- i don't know if he sent that tweet before or after the boston police department's presence conference. but you can tell he's watching this in realtime and just tweeting as impulsively. i'm glad to see that he was able to clean it up a little bit at the end. but the problem is he loses credibility with the impulsive tweets at first. >> here's my point. if you look at what's on tv right now, if you're the president you're watching that. i never fault any president for
criticizing people that become violent. i just don't. i mean, when you see people that are violent just like we're literally watching on the screen right now. i want a president to call them out. these agitators. i want him to praise the police officers when they show restraint. i want him to also say congratulations to the people that showed up overwhelmingly to fight against racism and stand up against racism. that is a good day. not everything has to be negative about donald trump. >> sure. >> i understand there are people who don't like him, but today this was a good day and also i think this was a very measured response. the president should always call out agitators. always should call them out and he did today. there's nothing wrong with that. >> ben, i think a lot of people would agree with what you said. but you know going back to some of the previous comments he has made and where he left it on tuesday, i want to just give an example of why the president's words do matter so much. the southern poverty law center said immediately after the 9/11 attacks, anti-muslim hate red
skyrocketed some $1,000 but then president bush gave a speech and anti-muslim violence declined by two-thirds. what does that say about the impact of a president's words during racial and religious tension and -- >> that they matter. >> it's so important. >> any time there is uncertainty whether it's international or domestic issues it doesn't matter. people look to the leader of this country for guidance. for calm. for honesty. for truthfulness on the issues. i think this weekend the president is proving he is working on this. trying to make sure he gets it right. i think we should give credit when someone's words change compared to maybe what he was saying last weekend. i think what he said today was exactly the right tone. i think we should -- if the people -- if there are people that don't like the president,
but you keep saying you want him to do better, today is a day if nothing else you encourage him by saying, i appreciate the fact that you obviously are moving in the right direction. >> you need the gold star because he says a right thing today as president after he -- >> hey, tara -- >> ben, let tara respond. you just had a long chance to talk. so tara, go ahead and finish your response. >> yeah, look, look, you know, i understand that, the people who support donald trump are twisting themselves into knots trying to find something good because he screwed up so badly in the last week. a little bit, ben, a little bit. you're expecting me to give the president of the united states a gold star because -- >> no, i'm not. >> because today he actually sent out a measured tweet that was somewhat presidential because he praised the police and protesters but it was only after he impulsively tweeted about anti-protesters focusing on that instead of focusing on
the positive at first. he's the president of the united states. we should expect him to do the right thing. after his behavior for the last eight months especially the last week it's a little bit difficult to get excited when he actually tweets something that isn't off the wall. so, you know, ben -- >> here's what i'll say. don't get excited, but at least be intellectual honest. you can't come on here and say, he's probably golf -- let me finish. you said he was probably golfing, then you said he was watching it in realtime. >> yes. >> then you said he was a terrible president. then you said it was not measured, he got it wrong, but now you're upset that you have to give him a gold star. i don't know what you want. >> absolutely -- that's not true. you completely blew that it out of proportion. there's some sarcasm to what i'm saying to you of how excited you seem to be about -- >> i'm not excited. >> hey, guys, let me move the conversation forward. i'm not sure we're getting
anywhere with this. >> probably golfing. >> hold on. >> at a golf course. >> hold on. the president deserves credit when credit is due and he deserves to be called out when he does something that isn't right. even republican senators and congressmen have been speaking out against the president's previous remarks. ben sasse, senator from nebraska wrote a candid post on facebook last night, titled the next charlottesville. and the beginning of it reads, quote, over the last week many nebraskans have told me some version of this. there are a lot of us here who are scared about where the country is headed. i think more violence is inevitable. he writes that much seems obvious. he goes on to list a number of observations he and his wife made while they were discussioning the events that have taken place and at number seven, he writes this. what will happen next? i doubt that donald trump will be able to calm and comfort the nation in that moment. he and lots of others will probably tell an awful combination of partial truths and outright falsehoods.
ben, that's from a republican senator. how foreboding is that? >> look, i think it's easier if you're not a big fan of the president to pile on him. we have seen that clearly. here's what i'll say. i think the president today got it right. and i think that we should be glad that he got it right. i don't even need people like tara to applaud him for that. i'm just saying not everything has to be so anti-the president and so negative or assuming that it's always terrible. when somebody moves in a direction that you have been calling for him to move in, it's a little hypocritical to continue to criticize that individual when they move in the direction that you're saying for the last seven days that he has to move in this direction or he's going to be -- or he's doing a terrible job as the president. today he moved in the direction that almost every detractor of the president said he must move in. so when he does move in that direction, when he obviously is not tone deaf and he has been listening to the american people and he said something today that
was very presidential then you can't keep ripping on him unless you're intellectually honest and you say, i hate the president, i'm never going to give him credit for anything. >> no. no. let's see how long this lasts, ben. people applaud him for doing the right and monday when he gave that hostage video of a statement, to clean up his mess on charlottesville on saturday. so then on tuesday, we saw the real donald trump come back. so maybe today he sent out a couple tweets that were okay, presidential. that's great. good for him. let's see how long it lasts. >> thank you both for joining us. >> thanks. coming up, police are adding new felony charges now against the man who drove his car into the group of counterprotesters last week and leaving one woman dead and dozens more injured. we'll have the details next. at holiday inn express, we can't guarantee that you'll be able to contain yourself at our breakfast bar. morning, egg white omelet. sup lady bacon! fruit, there it is!
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near richmond, a state policeman who lost his life while supporting the charlottesville rally was laid to rest. this was for j. cullen. virginia's governor spoke at the service. >> today we lost a member of our family. dorothy and i are heartbroken. and it will never be the same when i step into that helicopter and not see j. in the front right seat. >> back in charlottesville, the man charged with murdering a woman by driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters last weekend has a stack of new charges. i'm talking about james alex fields he's already charged with second degree murder and several
counts of malicious wounding in the horrific crash where heather heyer was killed. rosa, tell us more about the new charges this man is facing and what's next in the case. >> reporter: you know, ana, we're learning more about these additional charges. these are five felony counts including two counts of malicious wounding. three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and of course these stack up on to all the counts that he's already facing which include second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit and run. now, we are following his case very closely of course. we know he's sitting in a county jail right now. no bond has been set. a bond hearing is pending and he has been appointed a public defender. now, we do know that this individual is the former county prosecutor, so someone with a lot of experience. his next hearing is set for august 25th.
>> you have something new to report about christopher cantwell, i understand, the white nationalist that was so prominently featured in the vice news special in charlottesville. what is that? >> reporter: indeed. cnn learning from a senior law enforcement source familiar with this investigation that other warrants have been issued including like you mentioned for christopher cant well. he is the national -- the white nationalist rather who was featured very prominently in that vice news special report and he said many racist things. many racist tirades in that special report. including saying that the death of heather heyer was very much justified. now, as you know, heather heyer is a 32-year-old who was rammed by a car and killed and by that same vehicle 19 other people were also wounded. as for the warrant though,
according to the law enforcement source these warrants have been issued but they have not been served. >> all right, rosa flores reporting for us in charlottesville. thank you. president trump has been criticized for not fully renouncing the extremist groups whose rally last week had triggered the violence in charlottesville but cnn found many of the president's supporters are agreeing with him. >> to every action there's a reaction. >> reporter: trump supporter eddie agrees with the president. >> there was no clear view of who started the provocation. >> reporter: his view is not unique in paris, kentucky. >> two wrongs don't make a right. you have the left and the right, whatever happened to the middle? >> there were faults on both sides but the -- >> both sides, one side he called the alt left. >> right. >> those people are fighting for equality.
>> that's right. >> the alt-right fighting for white supremacy to take over the country as a white only america. >> i think they have a right to protest, the white supremacists. >> even carrying torches and shields? >> hey, you know, whatever they carry they have a right to protest. >> how can you hold one person responsible for all of the fighting? it's what people -- i think it's just what people believe in. that's what they're taught. >> reporter: here in bourbon county, voters overwhelmingly supported trump in last year's election. they're concerned about racism in this country but they don't believe the president is at fault for any of the divisiveness. >> i served on the city commission -- and the black people here elected me. >> you say your closest friends are black people but there are people marching saying that the black people can't replace them. >> well, they can't get their thirst quenched for making the
black people back. those who put the white people put a swastika on their arm, they're making the white people look bad. >> as for white supremacy, do you think the president had given them more of a voice? >> i don't think so. i don't think so. i think the president is in a tough position. >> if they put people back to work. poverty breeds a lot of trouble. >> he needs to stand up and call the people out by what they are. he needs to say this is not going to be tolerated in the united states. >> is there anything the president could do where you draw the line? >> you know, again, if he would -- if he would come in and say, hey, i'm not letting you protest, i'm not letting you -- this not going to happen anymore. or i'm going to not let -- that
you people that are protesting for equality, i'm not letting that happen anymore. what would that do to our rights as the united states in this country? this is a melting pot. this is the united states of america. we all need to come together. >> reporter: these people say they love their country that's why they support the presidency. so seven months into this administration they say they see some problems, but not enough to sway their support. >> thanks, brynn. coming up, the ceo president is being abandoned by big business of all people. gutting two white house economic councils. carl icahn out as a presidential adviser as well. will anyone else emerge from wall street to help the president? you're live in the "cnn newsroom."
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police officers across the country heart broken today of a tragic night for the law enforcement community. a second officer who was shot in kissimmee, florida, died last night. sergeant sam howard succumbed to the injuries a short time ago. he and matthew baxter were killed after they responded to a call. this is one of three separate violent incidents against police last night. a about an hour after that incident in kissimmee a second one in florida north of jacksonville. where two officers were shot while responding to an attempted suicide call. the officers exchanged gun fire shooting and killing the suspect. on the same night in pennsylvania, two state troopers were shot, the suspect was
killed. turns out president trump's response to the deadly protest in charlottesville last week, it wasn't good for business. big time ceo who once pledged to help him are jumping ship. >> reporter: hi, ana. the ceos are dumping the ceo president. it was an uncomfortable alliance from the start. the ceos disagreed with him on climate change, nafta, immigration. but his views on race were the final straw. it started with merck ceo ken frazier who the president immediately attacked via twitter. and then the exodus. two white house economic councils gutted. the manufacturing and strategy and policy forum left with virtually no members. after it was clear no ceo would advise him, the president disbanded both groups and the white house had been trying to recruit an infrastructure council too. but the president cancelled that the next day.
this is a breakup with titans of business. big names like black stone, jpmorgan, gm and walmart. it's a rebuke to the business friendly president that could put his economic agenda at risk. and it leaves this president, ana, increasingly isolated. just who is there to advise him? rumors bubbled last week that gary cohn his economic adviser would resign. anguished and distressed over the president's remarks, now the white house denies this. but his administration is already under staffed. less than half of the key executive positions in the white house have been filled so far. less than half including dozens of important roles in the commerce department and treasury and in labor. the president came to the white house with the promise to drain the swamp and to gut government as we know it. ironically, he needs more people to help him do it. ana? >> christine romans, thanks. a major manhunt is under way
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it's there, right under your nose. get to your best smile up to 50% faster. visit invisalign.com to get started today. take you back to boston now where there's apparently tension on the streets between protesters and police officers. paolo sandoval is there now. it seemed to have quieted down, the mayor and the police commissioner, they were celebrating. >> reporter: that's right. it's interesting just a few moments ear what we heard from the commissioner, i wanted to show you what the streets look like in boston now. police officers again here on the streets essentially trying to regain control of a situation. what we saw play out, just a little while ago, the downtown crossing area here of boston was essentially cut off by law enforcement officers as some of the individuals -- what appear to be the counterprotesters made their way into downtown. it's really difficult to tell which exactly what group they're
with. i asked one of them and he said they're marching under that single -- or that one slogan which is keep hate out of boston. so again, this is the situation that's playing out right now. we're going to continue to monitor it, but i can tell you that i'm being told by some of the individuals on the protesting side that some of them were temporarily detained by officers and that some were possibly pepper sprayed. i have seen several people try to douse themselves with milk. trying to eventually counter the effects of some -- what possibly is pepper spray. but again we're trying to speak to authorities and trying to assess the situation again in downtown boston, not far from boston commons. >> paolo, stay safe. do keep us posted, thank you. police in spain meantime say the terror cell behind two attacks there in that country is now completely dismantled. an international manhunt remains under way for the driver of the van used in the terrorist attack on thursday. the man drove a rented van through a crowd of people on a
popular promenade in barcelona. las ramblas. authorities are investigating an explosion at a house in the village of alcanar. and police are combing through the wreckage of the blast. police have identified this man as a suspect in that barcelona attack. he's still apparently out there. but it's not clear yet if he was indeed the driver of the van that drove through the crowd killing 13 people and injuring more than 100 others. king felipe laid flowers at the site of that horrific terror attack. the spanish royal couple visited injured survivors in two hospitals. coming up the president's response to the charlottesville attack has left many wondering how the president views race. we'll ask someone who knows president trump better than most. his biographer, next. but first in this week's fit nation, transgender cyclist makes history.
cnn sanjay gupta reports. >> cycling has offered me a sense of stability in my life. i work through every life situation on my bike. >> reporter: gillian bearden is an elite cyclist but her ride hasn't been easy. >> i was born male, as jonathan paul bearden. having this identity going on in your mind, you struggle on a daily basis. >> reporter: to cope, gillian turned to cycling. and began competing in the male circuit but her struggle with her identity persisted. >> i was contemplating suicide. to want to kill yourself when you have children and a wife that's a hard decision to make. but that's how dark it is. >> reporter: gillian decided to tell her family and with their support she began transitioning. gillian worked with the officials at usa cycling and after months of talks and hormonal testing they granted her a license to race as a female. >> it was extremely emotional, i was finally on that woman's
team. that i always longed for. >> reporter: now she's about to compete in her first cycling race as a woman. the colorado classic. >> this race is important because i'll be the first transwoman athlete in the united states to race in the pro field. >> reporter: the colorado classic is a two-day team cycling event that draws the top cyclists in the world. >> when you have 83 other riders hitting speeds of 42 miles an hour it's a crazy thing. >> reporter: she finished in time to qualify for the second race, in breckinridge, colorado. racers climbed 3600 feet uphill at an elevation already of almost 10,000 feet. >> it's going to be intense and it's going to be really hard. but i'm just -- i'm really blessed to be able to participate in this. >> reporter: the steep hills prove tough. and gillian fell behind the pack. still, she pushed through to the
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about white supremacy this week is not the first time he's been accused of espousing racist viewsment take a look. >> look, i feel strongly about the fact that obama should give his birth certificate. they are bringing drugs, crime, and their rapists, but some i assume are good people. he's a mexican, building a wall between here and mexico. >> you don't want duke's vote or that of other white supremacy groups this this election? >> i don't know anything about david duke and what you talk about with white supremacy. >> joining us, someone who knows president trump more than most. cnn contributor and donald trump biographer, the book call "the truth about trump," michael, do you call president trump a racist? >> well, you know, we can't look
directly into his heart, but his record is dotted with racist remarks and sentiments going all the way back to when he was very young, joined his father's firm and complained about reverse discrimination, absurd concept, because he didn't want to comply with fair housing laws, and even the clip you just played about david duke, he spoke at length about david duke 17 years before when he thought of running in the reform party for president and backed out complaining because the reform party had guys in this like david duke, so this is a long established record -- the thing i always go back to with donald trump is that he's one of the most isolated people i've ever encountered. i never met someone who lived
his whole life in such privilege yet isolation where he rarely came into contact with people different than him. really, he never came much in contact with anyone who disagrees with him. talking about soliciting input from all over the place, but everyone he's taken input from over the years happens to be dependent on him for a paycheck, so -- >> you're speaking of a lack of diversity in life and exposure to the diversity. you have a new cnn op-ed i want people to know about so they can read it, but i'll quote, "as donald trump jr. told me, the family believes in the race course theory of human development that holds that they are superior to others by virtue of genetics." explain that. >> well, right. the president, himself, told me that he had a genetic gift for real estate, whatever that means. you know, i think that they have
this string concept simply by virtue of being trump, you're superior in knowledge and intelligence, the way donald trump jr. put it to me was that if you put together a really great woman and a really great man, and he was really talking about breeding, as you would breed horses, you're going to get a great offspring. this is something that all people around the world reject as racist. you know, there is no evidence that there's any difference from group to group in terms of intelligence and abilities, so it's very noxious view, but it's something i think donald trump carried with him through life, and it affects everything that he says and does, so when we heard him speak last week, the third time, you know, the first
two times, he was hesitant and unclear, but the last time, he made it very clear how he feels, and -- >> yep. >> and he, you know, the thing that really struck me there, too, is he didn't want to talk about moral differences. he said, i'm not putting anyone on a moral plane -- >> do you think he understands the moral differences and why people were offended by his comments? >> you know, i think he does, deep down he does, he's not a stupid guy. he's smart enough. he's been reading the newspaper for 45 or 50 years. he's an avid consumer of the news. he knows we went through a civil rights revolution in this country where equality became expected and became the norm, so for him to talk about there being equal moral status for people espousing racism and people espousing acceptance is,
you know, he knows what he's doing. he's pandering to the people he identifies as his base. it's a very small number of people, as we saw in boston today, but he's pandering. >> well, thanks, a lot of people said that was not okay, and a lot of people abandoned the president, ceos, executives, arts of humanities committee resigned, 15 charities cancelled. the mother of the young woman killed in charlottes vifl dovil not want to speak to the president. do you think that bothers him? >> well, i think it must. i don't think that you can be rejected so roundly and not be affected and not take it in. certainly his children and son-in-law, jared kushner, they understand what's going on here. the president with the president is that the more he is pushed,
the more he digs in. it's a very self-competing thing. now that he's isolated in the white house without really friends in congress, really no friends in the business world, how is he going to accomplish anything? of greater concern for all of us is, how is the government to function? you know, how can we rely on stability in our government when he doesn't seem to be able to move in any direction successfully. >> all right, michael, thank you as always for joining us. >> thank you, ana. you're in the cnn newsroom, thank you so much for staying with us. up first on this saturday, thousands of counter demonstrator emerging on boston overshadowing the free speech rally, a week after the racial violence in virginia. boston police say today's march and