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tv   CBS Evening News  CBS  August 15, 2017 6:30pm-6:59pm EDT

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>> take care, family we'll see you tonight. captioning sponsored by cbs >> i think there's blame on bott it. >> mason: an angry president trump returns to his original assessment of charlottesville at an extraordinary news conference. >> what about the alt-left that came charging at the-- as you say-- the alt-right? you had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. and nobody wants to say that, but i'll say it right now. i thought that took place was a horrible moment for our country, a horrible moment. but there are two sides of the country. this week it's robert e. lee. i notice that stonewall jackson is coming down. i wonder, is it george washington next week? and is it thomas jefferson the week after? you know, you really do have to ask yourself where does it stop?
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this is the "cbs evening news." >> mason: good evening. i'm anthony mason. there was no script this time, no prepared statement. president trump said today what he really believes happened in charlottesville. flashing anger at times, the president said both sides-- the white supremacists and the counter-protesters-- are to blame for the violence that left one person dead and 35 injured. we have never seen a presidential news conference quite like this one at trump tower this afternoon. white house correspondent margaret brennan was there. margaret. >> reporter: president trump unloaded his pruistration and defended his decision to wait two days before denouncing the hate groups behind that rally. he called it a "horrible, horrible day." >> i didn't wait long. i wanted to make sure-- unlike most politicians-- that what i said was correct, not make a
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quick statement. the statement i made on saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement. but you don't make statements that direct unless you know the fact. it takes a little while to get the facts. if you go back to my-- in fact, i brought it. i brought it. i brought it. >> reporter: mr. president-- >> as i said on-- remember this, saturday-- "we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. it has no place in america." and then i went on from there. >> reporter: the president then doubled down on his assertion from saturday that both sides were to blame for the violence. >> you had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. and nobody wants to say that, but i'll say it right now. you had a group-- you had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent. those people, all of those people-- excuse me. i've condemned neo-nazis.
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i've condemned many different groups. but not all of those people were neo-nazis, believe me. not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. >> white nationalists -- >> those people were also there because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue, robert e. lee. so-- excuse me. and you take a look at some of the groups, and you see and you know it, if you were honest reporters-- which in many cases you're not-- but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of robert e. lee. so this week it's robert e. lee. i notice that jacques i stonewan is coming down. i wonder is it george washington the next week, and thomas jefferson the week after? you really do have to ask yourself where does it stop. >> reporter: he condemned the driver who ran his car into counter-protesters. >> well, i think the driver of the car is a disgrace to himself, his family, and his country. and that is-- you can call it
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terrorism. you can call it murder. you can call it whatever you want. the driver of the car is a murderer, and what he did was a horrible, hosh, inexcuse exoouzable thing. >> reporter: have you spoken to the family of the victim of the car-- >> no, i'll be reaching out. aye be reaching out. >> reporter: when will you be reaching out? >> i was very-- i thought that the statement put out-- the mother's statement i thought was a beautiful statement. i must tell you, it was something that i really appreciated. i thought it was terrific. and, really, under the kind of stress that she's under and the heartache that she's under, i thought putting out that statement, to me, was really something i won't forget. >> reporter: the mother of heather heyer, who was killed in saturday's attack, thanked mr. trump for denouncing, "those who promote violence and hatred." but the president's frustration broke through when we asked about republican senator john mccain's call for him to denounce attacks by the alt-right on white house staff.
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>> senator mccain-- >> reporter: to the alt-right? >> you mean the one who voted against obamacare. >> reporter: and he said-- >> you mean senator mccain who voted against us getting good health care? >> reporter: senator mccain said that the alt-right is behind these attacks, and he linked that same group to those who perpetrated the attack in charlottesville. well, i don't know-- i can't tell you. i'm sure senator mccain must know what he's talking about. but when you say "the alt-right," define alt-right to me. you define it. define it for me. let's go. >> reporter: senator macien defined them as the same group-- >> what about the alt-left that came charging-- excuse me. what about the alt-left that came charging as, as you say, the alt-right? do they have any semblance of guilt? let me ask you this-- what about the fact that came charging-- that they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? do they have any problem? i think they do. >> reporter: are you putting
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what you're calling the alt-left and white supremacists on the same moral plane? >> i'm not putting anybody on a moral plane. what i'm saying is this: you had a group on one side and you had a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs, any it was vicious, and it was hocialg, and it was a hork thing to watch. but there is another side. there was a group on this side-- you can tall them the left. you've just called them the left-- that came violently attacking the other group. so you can say what you want, but that's the way it is. >> reporter: when asked whether senior adviser steve bannon, who has links to the alt-right, will remain in his administration, the president hedged. >> well, we'll see. look, look, i like mr. bannon. he's a friend of mine. but mr. bannon came on very late. you know that. i went through 17 senators, governors, and i won all the primaries. mr. bannon came on very much later than that. and i like him. he's a good man. he is not a racist. i can tell that you. he's a good person. he actually gets a very unfair
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press in that regard. but we'll see what happens with mr. bannon. but he's a good person, and i think the press treats him, frankly, very unfairly. >> reporter: and you may be able to hear some of the protesters outside of trump tower where we are now. anthony, there was a very telling moment during this press conference when chief of staff john kelly, who was just standing off to the sidelines, was just looking down at his shoes during all of this. you know, he's been charged with establishing command and control of white house staff. the limits of his ability to keep the president on message were laid bare today. >> mason: margaret brennan with an extraordinary day at trump tower. thank you, margaret. as soon as the president finished speaking, social media exploded. former k.k.k. leader david duke wrote, "thank you mpresident, for your honesty and courage to tell the truth."
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others were not tow explimentary. republican house speaker paul ryan tweeted, "white supremacy is repulsive. this bigotry is counter to all this country stands for." florida republican senator marco rubio said, "you can't allow white supremacists to share only part of the blame." california democratic senator kamala harris wrote, "i've said it all before, and i'll say it again-- there are not many sides to this. the president said there was blame and violence on both sides. we wanted to get a fact check on what happened in charlottesville, so we're calling on our reporter paula reid who was on the scene for cbs news on saturday. how well armed were both sides, paula? >>. >> reporter: pretty much every white supremacist demonstrator they saw had some sort of weapon, either a helmet, a shield, a firearm, a baton. as for the counter-protesters, i would say most of them were unarmed. many of them were members of the clergy or they were students. now, there were certainly some
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people who were there as counter-demonstrators who were there to cause trouble, but overwhelmingly, the counter-protesters were unarmed. they were also, the counter-protesters, the only ones i saw administering medical aid to people who had chemical agents in their eyes and in their mouths. >> mason: and did you get any sense of where most of the tension was really coming from on the scene? >> reporter: you have torm that emancipation park where the statue of robert e. lee is, is raised above the street. it's several feet, several steps above the road. so the white supremacists had the park, and we're seeing a lot of objects coming down from the park into the streets where most of the counter-demonstrators were. and it's clear, for every one counter-demonstrator flag you could see, there were 10 to 15 confederate or white supremacist flags. >> mason: the rally itself was scheduled for saturday, but there was a-- a lot of people arrived friday night carrying torches. what was the significance of that, do you think, paula? >> reporter: police seemed caught off guard from the start. you had hundreds of people
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marching through the university of virginia campus chanting white supremacist slogans and carrying tiki torches. and it seems that that almost helped to embolden them, which is part of why they got to the really several hours early and were already pretty amped up. >> mason: paula reid, thank you very much. let's turn now to john dickerson, our chief washington correspondent and stairveggor of "face the nation." john, just an extraordinary day, and i was particularly struck by the fact that the president was carrying his saturday speech in his pocket, which suggested that he-- he had something he wanted to say today. >> reporter: yes. he-- he was in the middle of making-- continuing an argument. he seemed more interested in assigning blame in his remarks to those on the left and ensuring that there was this equivalent understanding of what took place than he was interested in showing moral disgust that a president should show towards neo-nazi protesters who represent beliefs that are entirely at odds with the united states, the country that he is
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the leader of. and that repeated and made worse his moral failure from saturday. presidents are supposed to rush into these moments and unify americans. but the president, by bringing that statement and continuing to try to defend himself, was continuing an argument and saying both sides were to blame. he wanted to make sure he was right about the details, but then when he characterized the protesters, he totally overlooked the nazi slogans and flags and salutes. >> mason: john, in the end, what do you make of what happened today in terms of how it will affect the president? >> reporter: well, this happens in a context. the president won office and was herl added by many of his supporters by speaking bluntly, by speak truths, by not bothering with the niceties, so his reluctsance to do that here, to speak the essential truth about the neo-nazi protesters who were chanting those nazi slogans, that is a failing that he has now repeated twice. he had a moment like this during the primaries that rattled
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republican leaders. republican leaders will now have to distance themselves from the president, and the-- and the question is how they get back together again. >> mason: john dickerson, thank you very much. joining us now is dr. calvin butts. he's president of the state university of new york at old west bury, and pastor of new york's abyssinian baptist church. thank you for being with us. the president said yesterday that racist is evil. have his remarks today effectively undercut that? >> i think so. everyone believes that he's trying to avoid identifying the hatred and the level of vitriole in the country today. and his statements today in terms of trying to spread the blame, so to speak, did not realize ensure americans, most of them-- and i would encourage the president to pay attention to the polls-- that we should not be living in fear. everyone is afraid today. >> mason: is it possible to keep the country united with this kind of rhetoric?
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>> no, and that's the problem. coming from the bully pulpit of the white house, you have to speak to the sensibilities of this nation. we're not going to fight the civil war again, and we're not going to stand for the kind of hatred that we see tearing this country apart. and the president needs to tone it down. he needs to demonstrate that he can lead this nation. it's a difficult job, but we are a good people, and we've come a long way, and we cannot let a man like him take us back. >> mason: what is "a man like him?" what do you mean? >> someone who is a bully. someone who does not listen to the deep reservoir of intelligence of the men and women of the united states government. >> mason: if you could say something directly to the president today, or have him say something, what would that be? >> it would be that there is domestic terrorism in the united states of america, and the
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president of the united states does not tolerate it, and say it from his heart. i think he needs to sit back and take a look at what is america truly today? and it is a diverse nation that's, one, epluribuses some-- i wonder if he knows what that means. and he's segregating the population with this rhetoric. >> mason: there are, in fact, hundreds of hate groups in this country. they're members living largely in the shadows. more now from jim axelrod. >> reporter: who makes up america's hate groups? ask christian piccolini. that's him nearly 25 years ago, a leader in the skinhead movement. who are the people who make up the rank and file of the white supremacist movement? >> you know, jim, it's the average american. it's our mechanics.
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it's our dentists. it's our teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses. and, unfortunately, that's the way it's turned into in the last 30 years. >> reporter: born and raised in working class chicago, he joined his first white power gang at 14 before quitting eight years later and starting a nonprofit to combat hate. this notion that white supremacists are all around us, it's a very scary picture you paint. >> it is. unfortunately, it's a reality. >> reporter: the southern poverty law center counts more than 900 active hate groups in the u.s., a number that's growing. >> this is a movement that is really fueled at this moment by a lot of young, angry white men. >> reporter: but heidi beirich, who tracks hate groups for the s.p.l.c., agrees with the former skinhead picciolini. >> it is absolutely false to think that people in the white supremacist movement are really poor people living in trailer parks with no education. >> reporter: christian piccolini takes it further,
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saying no one should be surprised that support for president trump from white supremacists in charlottesville last weekend. do you feel white supremacists look at donald trump and feel affirmed? >> absolutely, 100%. you know, the anti-imgrant, anti-refugee talk, and the idea to put america first, those are all things that we talked about 30 years ago, and it resonates just as deeply with the people who are in this movement. >> reporter: this past january, the obama administration gave picciolini's group $400,000 to continue its work battling hate groups. then in june, the trump administration told them the grant, anthony, had been canceled. >> mason: jim axelrod. thank you, jim. six executives have now resigned in protest from the president's 28-member manufacturing council. the president lashed out at them. here's julianna goldman. >> they're not taking their job seriously as it pertains to this country. >> reporter: it was the third attack since the weekend on
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c.e.o.s the president had hand picked as outside economic advisers. >> it's an honor to be here today. >> reporter: like intel c.e.o. brian krzanich who stood next to president trump in february and praised his tax policies. after the president's response to the violence in charlottesville, krzanich and the leaders of under armour, merck, and the alliance for american manufacturing stepped down. mr. trump lashed out in a tweet, "for every c.e.o. that drops out of the manufacturing council, i have many to take their place. grandstanders should not have gone on." >> i especially want to thank ken frazier. >> reporter: merck's ken frazier, one of the country's most prominent black business leaders, was the first to distance himself sunday saying he was taking a stand against intolerance and extremism. mr. trump took two days to explicitly condemn the white supremacists in charlottesville, but within an hour of his resignation, frazier was in the president's twitter line of fire. while frazier's move put pressure on his corporate
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colleagues, for the most part they're staying put. james bailey air, professor at george washington university's business school, says speak out risks the president exacting a personal vendetta. taking on the president of the united states for a publicly traded company is not small ball. >> yes. it was difficult to take on the president of the united states. the risks are high. but the-- the payoff might be quite high as well. >> reporter: late today, richard trumpico, president of the afl-cio also stepped down writing, "i cannot sit on a council for a president of bigotry." they sit on various advisory boards including the c.e.o. of lockheed martin and walmart. >> mason: julianna goldman, >> mason: julianna goldman, thank you, jewel anna. still ahead, white supremacists are planning more rallies.
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ugh. heartburn. sorry ma'am. no burning here. try alka-seltzer heartburn relief gummies. they don't taste chalky and work fast. mmmm. incredible. can i try? she doesn't have heartburn. alka-seltzer heartburn relief gummies. enjoy the relief. (cat 2) hey, what's that? (cat 1) whoa, gravy! (cat 2) you mean extra gravy! (cat 1) what?! (cat 2) that's new friskies extra gravy-chunky! (cat 1) chunky gravy purr-adise! (cat 2) purr-adise? really? (vo) feed their fantasy. friskies. >> mason: the tensions at the center of the violence in charlottesville are an issue in cities across the country.
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demarco morgan has more on that. >> reporter: protesters toppled this statue of a confederate soldier last night in durham, north carolina. following last weekend's violence in charlottesville, officials across the country were taking a hard look at rallies being planned in their cities by white supremacist groups. >> boston does not want you here. boston rejects your message. >> reporter: boston mayor marty walsh is speaking out against a so-called free speech rally this saturday that white supremacist demonstrators are planning to attend. >> we are a city that believes in free speech, but we will not tolerate accept theiments to violence. we will not tolerate threatening behavior. we will not have it. >> reporter: for the second time this year, the holocaust memorial here in boston was vandalized late last night. as for the so-called free speech rally, anthony, it is scheduled to go on as planned this weekend right here inside the boston common. >> mason: demarco morgan, thanks. and up next, why a black man in
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coolsculpting is the only fda-cleared non-invasive that's coolsculpting. trvisit today frand register for a chance to me. >> mason: at confederate flags are being prmoved all over america, a south is adding them to his paintings. strassmann. >> reporter: leo twiggs, a son of the as a series of crossings. that's why the now-83-year-old artist has spent four decades painting a the confederate flag, hundreds of them. pi recurring symbol? >> because i think the south isu
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know. we've got the southern got segregation. and they seem at oppositeds. >> reporter: that flag resurfaced in charlottesvillehe weekend. as a boy in south carolina, twiggs watched as they paraded through his home town. segregation marched h>> you coue white schools. i went toat t time, the state would pay your way to anothe. >> reporter: paid you to go away. >> paid me to go away. >> reporter: in 1970, he black t to earn a doctor of arts at the twiggs became one of the south's most acclaimed paintings of thig represent his journey and the south's. >> i make it a tattered and wore in a museum. and yet, we see it flying aroun.
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>> reporter: alive and present. li for dylann roof. after he massacred nine worshipers at lowed that flag at the state capitol. it faded from view, much painti. >> i call it our finest but emanuel is not an isolated incident. it is part of the african is th. i hope these flags create an atmosphere conversation. >> reporter: "what can i do?" >> what can iille reflected the message of leo twiggs, something america has yet to cross news, charleston. >> mason: and that's i'm anthony mason in new york. thanks for watching. thanks for watching. good night.
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action. broken bones? the new "mission: impossible" movie shut down. new details about tom gone wrong. then john mayer in tears over katy perry? >> i ran into my ex. >> his revealing new song that gets him so emotional he can't even sing it. >> i would cry. then remember this? tiger woods' toxicology report revealed the five drugs found in his system. plus -- inside cindy crawford's malibu mansion and her tips for the perfect selfie. the "this is us" cast spills secret, and we're kicking it with the sexy 50-year-old. >> really high. i can do it all. ♪ now for august 15, 2017, this is "entertainment tonight."


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