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Ben Carson Takes a Razor Thin Lead Over Donald Trump in a New National Poll; Carson Prepping for Tomorrow Night's Debate; University of Missouri in Turmoil Over Accusations of Racism. Aired 10-11p ET.
Aired November 9, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Ben Carson takes a razor thin lead over Donald Trump in a new national poll. This is CNN Tonight.
I want you to listen to what Donald Trump, him heating things up on the campaign trail, a little while ago in Springfield, Illinois, and jumping into the middle of a so-called war on Christmas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I become president, we're all going to be saying Merry Christmas again. That I can tell you. That I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Meanwhile, Carson prepping for tomorrow night's debate and doubling down on complaints about the scrutiny he faces. Plus, a story that's not about sports. It's about America in black and white.
Two top officials in the University of Missouri stepped down after a threatened boycott by the football team and a grad student's hunger strike. Are they rewriting the playbook for fighting racism on campus?
There is a lot to get to tonight. But I want to begin with CNN's Athena Jones live for us in Springfield tonight. Athena, big crowds for Donald Trump tonight in Springfield. And he took some shots at his opponent. So, tell us what he said.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He did. Hi, Don. It was a big crowd, a boisterous crowd, very enthusiastic. Trump really seemed to be eating it up and he had a lot to say about his rivals both within his party and outside of the party.
We've heard him talk about Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server issue. Well, today, he hit her -- he hit on her that again calling it a crime. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And you better remember there's a six-year statute of limitations on that crime. So, Hillary is running for a lot of reasons. One of them is because she wants to stay out of jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: The crowd really enjoyed that. Trump said that if he wins the election, he is going to look at that crime very seriously. Of course, he's calling it a crime. He's talked about Clinton possibly be indicted, but so far that's, of course, not happening. Don.
LEMON: And not surprising, he went after his top republican rival and that's Ben Carson, right?
JONES: This is interesting, too, Don. At one point, he said this is a strange election. Only in this election could you have someone try to hit their mother over the head with a hammer and have their poll numbers go up. Take a listen to what else he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You stab somebody. And the newspapers say you didn't do it. And you said, yes, I did. I did it. No, you didn't. Yes, I did. I stabbed him and it hit the belt. And they said you didn't do it. If they said I didn't do it, I'd be so happy. This is the only election in history where you're better off if you stab somebody. What are we coming to?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So, he really had a lot of fun with that line. So, Bush and Rubio also came under fire. But Trump really hit Clinton and Carson the hardest.
And one more thing I want to add, Don, right after this event was over, I believe we have some video. Outside of this arena, there was a protest and counter protest of a small group of Bernie Sanders supporters were chanting feel the burn and dump Trump outside of a bus that's selling Trump's crippled America book.
It was a relatively calm protest, not as hostile as we've seen some of these confrontations in the past. But there was a larger group of Trump supporters chanting back, chanting Trump, Trump, Trump. So, a little bit of excitement outside of these events, as well. Don.
LEMON: Never a dull moment, Athena Jones. Thank you very much. I appreciate that.
Joining me now is Sean Spicer, the RNC's chief strategist and communications director. Hi, Sean. Another republican debate tomorrow. There were a lot of complaints and media bashing by the RNC and the candidates after the last one. So, what do you expect this time?
SEAN SPICER, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I expect an actual debate about the economy, jobs, trade, taxes, an economic debate that we were supposed to have. I think we're finally going to have it tomorrow night and it's going to be I think a very informative debate. And an opportunity for our candidates to express their vision for the
future of this country, the solutions that they have to the problems that we face.
LEMON: So, Sean, Ben Carson has been under fire for discrepancies in his autobiography. He says he shouldn't have to cooperate everything he has said in the past. Do you agree?
SPICER: I think what Dr. Carson has done is gone out and answered the critics. I think what we have a problem with is where the media is saying that they're not happy with the answer and they want to escalate his answer and make it a scandal as opposed to just response that what it was.
But I think we have a problem here where once again, conservatives and republicans are being tasked, taken -- taken to the wood shed, whereas, if this were a democrat, it would have been asked and answered and move on.
I think we have a complete double standard in terms of how republicans conservatives are dealt with in the mainstream media.
LEMON: He says that he has come under more scrutiny than anyone else, that the media is sick and stupid.
[22:05:02] So, do you think he is being unfairly targeted by the media more than any other presidential candidate?
SPICER: Well, I -- what I -- I'm not going to answer that specifically because I don't know. I'm not monitoring Ben Carson's media. But what I will say is I do believe there is a double standard when it comes to conservatives and republicans versus democrats.
There is no question about it. I think the level of scrutiny and the intensity that is put on conservative issues are records are statement is vastly different than how it's put on liberals, especially Hillary Clinton. I think she gets the benefit of the doubt in every situation and that's not the case with our side.
LEMON: OK. So, I want you to take a listen to what Christie said about Carson's complains this morning. And this is on New Day. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He put the story out there in the first place, so he has the responsibility to back it up. A couple of days are being asked about something that when you put in your books, I got to tell you, I don't have a lot of sympathy.
He should answer the questions forthrightly and directly. If he does, the American people will accept it. If he doesn't, then he's got a problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: That is a republican presidential candidate essentially saying
what some democrats will say. We're all put through the ringer and Ben Carson is expected to answer questions and to be accountable for what's in his book and his past. Just as much as anyone else. He's not getting special treatment.
SPICER: Right. And, again, I don't disagree with the fact that every candidate needs to be accountable to their record and to their statements. I don't think even Dr. Carson disagrees with that.
I think the manner in which you were held accountable is what's in question, meaning that it's one thing to answer it. It's another thing to have people try to twist and turn it or to escalate it to a level that it wasn't.
SPICER: And that's really -- that's what this really consumes you. Again, no one is saying that you can't ask tough questions or you can't be held accountable. It's the manner in which it's done and the way which it's escalated. And that's where I think we saw a lot of it with Dr. Carson, in particular.
But we've seen it before with Marco Rubio and his credit card. It's everyone wants to jump on conservatives and take every little nugget that's out there and blow it up...
LEMON: But isn't it -- isn't it the manner, also, Sean, in which it was answered? Because if he had answered in the way Chris Christie said, you know, it's a, hey, he is the front-runner right now. He's going to be re-scrutinized. Everything is going to be gone over, so why can't he say, listen, I'm in the top position now. Everyone is questioning. I will gladly answer your questions because this is what happens to presidential candidates, and then -- candidates, and then it wouldn't be a big deal.
SPICER: Well, again, I think we're quibbling over -- over, you know, the middle here. But I think the manner in which it's done and the not just with Dr. Carson but a lot of these circumstances that have happened where the immediate response of the media is sort of guilty until proven innocent with republicans is something that we see pervasive throughout, you know, each of these cases.
And so, it's not isolated to just -- to this particular instance. But I think there's a difference. And again, I know this is splitting hairs, but there's a difference between being accountable for your actions and your words and your record and having then when -- and Dr. Carson, from what I've seen has gone out there to say, OK, this is what really happened. This is my recollection over an events that occurred 40 years ago.
And yet, the way it's escalated in terms of that he's fabricating this or he's doing that is not exactly what or how it's going down. And I think there's an -- there's an attempt by the media to make much more out -- out of every issue. It's making a mountain out of a mole hill in every one of these circumstances.
LEMON: OK. You mentioned Marco Rubio. So, let's talk about that quickly. The use of his Florida Republican Party credit card for personal charges also under scrutiny. We now know that he made, you know, personal charges over I think it was $29,000 on that card. Do you think that he has more explaining to do or is this settled for you? What?
SPICER: Well, Marco Rubio isn't accountable to me or the RNC, so that's number one. But from what I've seen, he has shown exactly what he said was going on is the case. And so, you know, again, I think this is another example of the media jumping the gun and trying to make a narrative out of something that wasn't there.
LEMON: All right. Sean Spicer, thank you. I appreciate it. See you tomorrow night.
SPICER: You bet. Thanks, Don.
LEMON: So, let's bring in our republican strategist, Mercedes Schlapp, a former media spokesperson for President George W. Bush and Katie Packer is here, as well, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney.
Good evening to both of you ladies. Mercedes, joining us -- Mercedes, you know, you're first here. Donald Trump is referring to clip, it's from Saturday Night Live on the campaign trail. Look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the president of Mexico is here to see you.
TRUMP: That's great. Send him in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought you the check for the wall.
TRUMP: Oh, that's so well lovely.
TRUMP: This is far too much money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I insist. Consider it as an apology for doubting you. As history shows us, nothing brings two countries together like a wall.
TRUMP: Well, I told you, and it's -- I'm so proud of you. And changing Telemundo to all English for me, you changed that to all English, it's the greatest thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. TRUMP: I am so proud of you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[22:09:59] LEMON: So at his event in Springfield, he pointed out, you know, what he calls a small number of people who showed up at the protests that the protest to appearance. And he told supporters again how much he loves Hispanics and how he will win their vote. Is he right, Mercedes?
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, again, I think it's going to be difficult for Donald Trump at this point to really gain the support of Hispanic -- of Hispanic community. Without being said, there are Hispanics that do support him.
But when you look at the numbers, right now, his unfavorable amongst Hispanics are over 60 percent. And so, I think for Donald Trump, it's going to take toning down the rhetoric, really cut -- staying away from the mass deportation.
As we know, with Governor Mitt Romney, one of his problems was when he talked about self-deportation. The deportation work does not work. We need a solution to the immigration system and that is one thing that I think Donald Trump probably needs to rework in his tone as he -- if he does become the nominee.
LEMON: Well, that sounds like some pretty good advice. OK. But, Katie, let's look at these new polls, right? Because these new polls are showing Ben Carson one point ahead of Donald Trump. There they are up on your screen. And this is a national poll, this is in South Carolina.
So, what do you expect to hear from these candidates tomorrow night?
KATIE PACKER, FORMER MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think it's going to be interesting night for a few of the candidates in particular. I think Governor Christie is going to be looking to have a real standout performance. He's going to be in the undercard debate and might have a real opportunity there with -- without so many voices, you know, to actually, you know, get a little bit of attention.
I do think that you're going to be looking for Jeb Bush to really sort of step up to his game. He's, you know, made commitments to a lot of his supporters and a lot of his donors that he is going to do better. And I think he's looking to be looking to have a really strong performance tomorrow night.
I think that you're probably going to see Donald Trump actually, you know, come out with guns blaze and a little bit. You know, he has seen, you know, other candidates start to emerge as -- as real competition for him and, you know, I think he's not very comfortable in a situation where he's anything but first place. And I think he's going to, you know, be trying to cut some of these folks off at the knees.
LEMON: So, who is the man to beat tomorrow night, is it Marco Rubio?
PACKER: Well, clearly, Marco Rubio has had repeatedly very, very strong debate performances. Every single one of these debates, he's been somebody that, you know, whether, you know, people thought he won or not, they clearly thought that he did very, very well.
You know, I think Jeb Bush has certainly telegraphed that, you know, Marco Rubio has a target on his back and he's going to be coming after him and sort of his team have indicated that he's a real threat to them.
You know, Senator Cruz has made some comments that have telegraphed that and I think, again, Donald Trump has used him as somebody that is a threat. So, I do think that there are going to be some folks really training on Marco Rubio and wanting to, you know, prevent him from continuing to have the kind of momentum that he's had.
LEMON: Mercedes, I've been wanting to talk to you about this Ben Carson thing. So, should Ben Carson, should he be able to answer tough questions about his childhood since he put it all out there in his books as part of what he's running on?
SCHLAPP: Look, I think Ben Carson, like all these other candidates, deserve the scrutiny. It's the media's job to investigate, to look into the stories. But with that being said, I mean, this was 50 years ago.
But Politico, for example, made a mistake this last -- this past weekend when they had to change the headlines. They didn't have their facts right. It was sloppy reporting. And secondly, I mean, Ben Carson right now is trying to focus on getting, you know, an organization on the ground in these critical states. And does he have to answer to figure out who is, you know, who is Bob and whether he is a friend, whether he's a relative?
We -- we didn't see that same scrutiny with President Obama and looking back to his college days when he was smoking marijuana and cocaine -- and snorting cocaine. I mean, we didn't go after and say, well, let's go find the drug dealers out there and ask them the questions on who was selling the drugs to President Obama.
I mean, I just think that it's been taken a bit out of context in terms of where the media is going with Ben Carson. And again, I think that Ben Carson, although he's stays very -- he's been defensive and I think it has hurt him into some certain extent.
But on the other hand, it has helped him with the GOP voters in a certain sense because they're saying, this is what we're seeing. We're seeing mainstream media going after the GOP candidates.
LEMON: Well, good luck finding a drug dealer to admit that he sold him drugs. But listen, I want to get to this because I can't believe we're talking about Christmas already. Christmas and coffee, big tuckers today. Donald Trump bought it up tonight. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I have one of the most successful Starbucks in Trump tower.
Maybe we should boycott Starbucks. I don't know. Seriously. I don't care.
TRUMP: By the way, that's the end of that lease, but who cares? Who cares? What cares? But today, a big story that is -- Starbucks is taking Merry Christmas off. No more Merry Christmas.
[22:14:57] I will tell you, lots of big things, lots of little things, you can call this anything you want. But if I become president, we're all going to be saying Merry Christmas again. That I can tell you. That I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I want to get quick answers from both of you because I want you to take a look at this. I want you take a look at this. This is a Starbucks cup right here and get your verdict on the war on Christmas, because we went shopping at Starbucks and this is all the Christmas things that we found here.
All of these items, they're all Christmas. There is an advent calendar, there is a Merry Christmas card, there is a red cup, Christmas blend coffee and teas. So, is, I mean, Mercedes, you first and then Katie. Is there really a war on Christmas going on here?
SCHLAPP: Not in Starbucks. I mean, this is about a coffee cup. I just want to have a nice pumpkin spice latte. And I wish they would have pumpkin spice latte all year round.
So, you know what, I'm more concerned about that than whether they change the coffee cup. We have bigger issues to deal with in our world than having to deal with the design on a coffee cup from Starbucks.
PACKER: I would like to hear Donald Trump give one speech where he articulates anything substantive for longer than a second and a half. I'd like to hear about his plan for what's going on in the Middle East. I'd like to hear a reasonable plan for what he's going to do about the immigration situation.
I'd like to hear a reasonable plan for bringing the economy back. All he does is try to, you know, sort of wage a culture war every time he speaks and I just don't think that that's a legitimate campaign for president.
LEMON: He'll have a chance tomorrow night at the debate. Thank you. I appreciate it.
SCHLAPP: Thank you, Don.
PACKER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come right back, two top officials at the University of Missouri step down in the wake of turmoil over accusations of racism. How the football team galvanized the campus.
Plus, the shocking death of a 6-year-old shot in the front seat of his father's truck. Now two police officers are charged with second degree murder.
[22:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: University of Missouri in turmoil over accusations of racism which led to a threatened boycott a football team and a hunger strike by a grad student.
Now, the president is resigning in. The university's chancellor will step down on January 1st. As a matter of fact, he's being reassigned.
So, CNN's national correspondent Kyung Lah and she is in Columbia, Missouri with the very latest for us this evening. Hello, Kyung. Big changes at the top. What's the reaction been like on campus?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a bit of whiplash because when it happened, it's not something that everyone was expecting it would happen so quickly. We've spoken to a lot of students today. And while some of them said that this is something they absolutely hoped for, that this is what the protest was all about, they didn't think it would happen on Monday morning.
The chancellor, moving into a new job. He's going to be basically running facilities, research. But the president saying that he accepts his role in what has happened. Here is the stunning announcement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM WOLFE, FORMER UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI PRESIDENT: I take full responsibility for this frustration and I take full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred. We need to use my resignation. Please, please use my resignation to heal, not to hate, and let's move forward together for a brighter tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAH: And the healing he's talking about is the healing that needs to happen here on this campus. There was some racial incidents that the students say were not adequately investigated. It led to one graduate student taking the dramatic step of a hunger strike, nearly eight days on that hunger strike, and then the football team.
The football team saying that they would not take the field, they would not practice, that they would not engage in any sort of sanctioned activity here at the university unless the president step down.
And then they were backed by their coach. The coach sent out this extraordinary picture and these words in his tweet saying, quote, "The Missou family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players."
So, an extraordinary amount of activity just in the last few days or so, Don, ending in these students getting exactly what they were asking for.
LEMON: Yes. And, Kyung, we're going to dig into the football part of this a little bit more now. Thank you very much. I appreciate your reporting.
Our Christine Brennan is here, CNN's sports analyst, also comedian W. Kamau Bell, host of United Shades of America, great show here on CNN, and Nischelle Turner, host of Entertainment Tonight, who is a graduate of that university, and the CNN's sports anchor Rachel Nichols here, as well.
Good evening to all of you. Thank you very much for joining us. Christine, you first. Why did it take a football team to force Tom Wolfe's resignation?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA TODAY SPORTS COLUMNIST: It's a great question, Don. And I think it shows the power of sports in this country once again. If anyone doubted probably got to deal football on college campuses. I don't think we should anymore.
But I think it's also a wonderful thing from the standpoint of understanding that once again, sports has taken us to a national conversation in a place that we should be culturally, and whether it's domestic violence or some other awful things happens in sports, performance enhancing drugs or whatever, I think this is a very valuable step that the coach made.
Obviously, Gary Pinkel, a veteran coach, he had the ability to have this kind of power on campus. And I think in some ways, it's almost like we're back in the 1960's again.
If you think about Mohammed Ali, Billie Jean King, some other great names from the past we haven't seen this kind of social activism in sports in a long time. And now here it is on a campus in Missouri and what a story line it is. But it took that college football team to get everyone to pay attention to this story.
LEMON: It sounds like you were listening our editorial call this morning, talking about the power of sports and football and sports on campus now because it's really sort of at the top of social issues and making changes.
so, Rachel, you're not surprised at this president's resignation, are you?
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: No. And look, the hunger strike by the student was certainly very powerful. But he was on that hunger strike for eight days. It was 36 hours after the football team said they weren't going to play a game and all of a sudden this guy has down.
LEMON: And it's money, don't you think. NICHOLS: And, yes, there was a contract for them to play this Saturday, a game where if they didn't play, they would have to pay $1 million, plus all the lost revenue from the game. That talks. And there's no question, too, that the guys who wear the name Missouri on their chests, all of a sudden not wanting to go out and represent the university, that's a public relations nightmare, as well.
[22:25:03] Christine talk about the activism of athletes. Look, we all went through the Michael Jordan era, right, where people asked him, why don't you ever participate in social causes and he reportedly said, hey, republicans buy sneakers, too.
People are more concerned about their brand or about standing anyone. And we have seen LeBron James stand up for Trayvon Martin and his family. We have seen NFL and NBA athletes wear shirts that say "I can't breathe."
We've seen the Los Angeles Clippers say we don't want to play for our own team's owners because of his racist comments. We have seen a huge shift in the way athletes view social activism.
LEMON: And remember, Donald Sterling.
LEMON: When he talk he's going to stand. Yes.
NICHOLS: And I -- and I think these younger kids, I think this is what's so fascinating, though. These college athletes have watched those professional athletes do it and the trickledown effect is amazing.
LEMON: Yes. OK. I want you W. Kamau Bell and Nishelle to stand by. And Nishelle grew up in Columbia, Missouri. She's going to take us behind the scenes. Kimau is going to share his perspective as well. So, stand by, everyone.
When we come right back, the former Missou star who has something surprising to say about what he saw on campus. We'll be right back.
[22:30:02] LEMON: Turmoil at the University of Missouri, accusations of racism on campus and two top officials stepping down.
Back with me now is Christine Brennan, W. Kamau Bell and Nischelle Turner. Also with is Rachel Nichols, our sports anchor here. Nischelle, take us inside the scene. You grew up in Columbia, Missouri.
NISCHELLE TURNER, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT HOST: Yeah.
LEMON: You went to Mizzou. Give us your perspective on race relations there.
TURNER: Well, I have, admittedly, a deep love for Columbia, Missouri, and University of Missouri. Anybody that knows me, you can even look at my Twitter handle avatar and see that I'm all things common and represented to my core. So I go into it with that perspective, Don, but having said that, not surprised at all about the events surrounding this. They're heartbreaking, but not surprising to me because, if I'm being honest and if we're all being honest, people that have gone there, black and white students and who have grown up in the area. And Tim Wolfe did as well, so he would know this firsthand, as well. Race relations have never been wonderful in Columbia or at the University of Missouri. Black students and white students have never been completely harmonious. I was a little removed from that because journalism students are admittedly tunnel vision, we have a lot going on and so, we don't really pay attention a lot of times to a lot of other things going on campus.
TURNER: But I have had situations where friends of mine have had run- ins, racial run-ins. I never had them specifically. I think at that point when I was in college, it was one of those, oh those things just happen, a sign of the times. I really commend these students for saying we're mad as hell and we're not taking it any more, something has to be done here. And let's just know, yes, it was 36 hours from when we saw until -- from when we saw the football team put their picture up to win. We saw the announcement this morning with President Wolfe resigning, but this fight has been going on with these students for a very long time. It's been simmering and it started to boil over. And there was a small grassroots effort of these kids who said, "We have got to emit change."
TURNER: "We cannot sit in this situation anymore."
LEMON: And the football team put even more added financial pressure on top of that.
TURNER: Oh, yeah.
LEMON: Mr. Bell, I wanted to talk to you -- because there are a lot of moving parts and it is a lot to analyze when it comes to this story. Look at some -- this is what some of the protesters, they created what they call a no safe space for -- a "no media safe space." I want you to look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: ... reporters have got to go. Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go. Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go. Hey hey, ho ho, reporters have got to go. Hey hey...
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: But the interesting thing is that I understand that they were
voicing their opinion. We wanted to be there to cover it. The media wanted to be there, but without the attention of the national media, you know, would that have -- it would -- it's a little odd.
W. KAMAU BELL, UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: Well, I think they're trying to control the message.
BELL: And I think sometimes people are...
LEMON: Not just important too.
BELL: Because we are afraid of the media...
BELL: Because media can come in sometimes and decide what the story is -- that you know, I got the real story. And so, they're trying to control the message. And thanks to the social media and those things, they can control the message and the media can still cover it, but I think it's important to control the message.
LEMON: After Rachel said what she said, and you said, yeah. What she said...
BELL: Yeah, but yeah, but...
LEMON: But it is right here. Do you think the football...
BELL: I tried to retweet it live.
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Right.
BELL: RT. RT.
LEMON: Is the football team...
BELL: And Nischelle, RT, RT, RT.
LEMON: So they added pressure and that...
LEMON: And that was a pressure you think they did?
BELL: Yeah. I think the hunger strike is important because that brings attention to it. And then the football players look at it and say, "What can we do?" NICHOLS: Yeah, and it's not...
BELL: It's always going to be about dollars...
NICHOLS: (inaudible) for the football players...
NICHOLS: Convincing apparently, the football coach. He said that he was really struck by their compassion for the student.
NICHOLS: And it was startled (ph).
LEMON: Hey Christine, I want to -- this is similar to what Nischelle said. This is former Mizzou star Michael Sam spoke to MSNBC the day about the events. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SAM, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I really have a lot of respect for Tim and I'm sad that he live to leave under these circumstances. As a former student athlete here, I did not experience any racial issues here, but I did also see some. In 2012, there was an incident at the Black Culture Center where someone threw cotton all over the black culture -- cotton balls all over the Black Culture Center, and nothing was done about it. Only an e-mail was sent out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Christine, it's interesting to hear Michael Sam say that he was sad to see Tim Wolfe leave the way he did. So how much blame do you think falls on Tim Wolfe here, and will it change anything?
[22:34:29] CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS ANALYST: You know leaders of universities are in a very interesting position because this is a place of learning and it's an academic institution. And, so it seems to me should be particularly attuned to what's going on your campus. And be able to use your brains to figure out what to do. And the fact that it took so long and that it took the football team to really, really crystallize this, it's stunning that it would take that long. How interesting, also, I'm struck by, of course, the Michael Sam sound bite. Michael Sam, just a year ago, you know, a few months ago, became of course the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League, of course, in Missouri graduate, a Missouri player. So here we are again at Missouri. This Missouri has become a melting pot, a focal point for a lot of issues in this country now. And again, sports in both cases, the football team in both cases, Michael Sam and in this story, that's the common denominator, but it seems to me that this is something that should have probably been handled earlier without being on campus and knowing that for sure. It just seems like it would have been a no-brainer to deal with this before it came to the head that it in a national media and a national sports media because of the football team.
LEMON: Nischelle, if I can get a quick response from you as someone who worked there...
LEMON: What do you think happens now? Because you've been speaking to students, so what's next?
TURNER: Well, I think that the conversation continues. I know that earlier today, when Chancellor Loftin said -- announced that he would be reassigned, that was something that a lot of people, faculty and staff on that campus wanted to see, actually, in place of President Wolfe resigning. I think that a lot of people thought that Chancellor Loftin was the first line of defense and the biggest problem in this situation. So now that he is going to be removed, as well, it will be interesting. I do think that maybe the students want to rethink their message because some of the things that they wanted, they were asking for, not sure now if they can go back and ask for. One of the things was 10 percent of the faculty to be a minority within two years. Well, seem -- these types of things that they wanted, now that they've got the president to resign, can you go back and say, "now we want this, too because it's almost like you've got the big gun..."
TURNER: "Now we can get the smaller things." So I'm not sure what will happen from here. I know the conversation will continue.
LEMON: That's a very smart move. You want to win? Really quick.
NICHOLS: Yeah. The only thing that made me a little sad about this situation was talking about what happened with the no media zones...
NICHOLS: And Christine and I can gang up on Nischelle, in terms of which journalism school is better, northwest or...
NISCHELLE: Missouri is.
NICHOLS: But Missouri is one of the best journalism schools in the country. So I would just hope...
NICHOLS: That the students there -- I do get the idea of controlling the message, but I would hope the students there know that some of their peers are going to be the finest journalists of the next 20 or 40 years...
NISCHELLE: Absolutely, absolutely.
NICHOLS: And it is worth it to have them there... LEMON: Have access.
NICHOLS: Writing history as it happens.
LEMON: Writing history down...
BRENNAN: I couldn't agree more, Rachel Nichols. Amen, Rachel Nichols.
LEMON: I have to say, the man whose school of journalism at LSU is the best. Thank you very much.
LEMON: And also Brooklyn College, TV/Radio Department. Thank you very much. Nischelle, thanks. Everyone else, I want you to stay with me because we have a lot more to talk about. When we come right back, should the NFL allow players accused of domestic violence to stay in the game?
[22:37:45] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: NFL is feeling the heat over accusations of domestic violence by players of website Deadspin published photos were taken last year. Look at that, former girlfriend of Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy -- unbelievable. He was found guilty of assault, but he appeared -- appealed and the case was dismissed. So back with me now are Christine Brennan, W. Kamau Bell and Rachel Nichols. All right. I have to do is say go Rachel.
LEMON: But let's -- so even after 48 photos, so 48 photos on Deadspin. His former girlfriend reposted there showing her bruised and battered body still, he got to play yesterday. I watched the game. It was very uncomfortable...
LEMON: With the announcers. What gives here?
NICHOLS: Look, Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys has said, "Hey, he does not condone domestic violence. They take this issue very seriously. They're just giving Greg Hardy a second chance." And look, I am all for second chances in America. That is a great thing about our society, but you have to earn that second chance. That second chance does not just come out of a vending machine. You have to show some remorse. You have to show some contrition. You have to show that you care at least a little bit about not beating another human being bruised and bloody. Greg Hardy hasn't shown any of that. He has thumbed his nose at his victim. He has thumbed his nose at women in general. And his owner, Jerry Jones, the team's owner, has enabled that behavior. He has called Greg Hardy a true leader.
LEMON: Yeah. NICHOLS: He has been on to say...
LEMON: He has to correct that, that saying he's a true leader on the field, but necessarily...
NICHOLS: He went over and then repeated Greg Hardy's comments objectifying women...
NICHOLS: He has shown at every turn. He is OK with that.
LEMON: And Christine...
NICHOLS: And that, it can't be OK with the rest of us.
LEMON: One of the announcers said last night that, listen, he didn't think Greg Hardy was a leader in any way, even on or off the field.
BRENNAN: Well, I agree with that. I certainly agree with everything Rachel said. He -- Greg Hardy, let's just say -- he's a monster. He's a monster. If people have not read what he did, it's all over. I've written it, probably, in 10 different columns over the last year and couple of months. And of course, the pictures, for many of us, I know Rachel, you -- you're the same on this one. It didn't take the pictures. The words, the story, the incredible testimony of Nicole Holder in the first trial, which by the way, was a trial by judge, and the judge found Greg Hardy guilty. That was the fact. And then of course, he appealed and then, she was apparently paid off by Greg Hardy. And so understandably, Nicole Holder was done with this and didn't appear at the trial, and so the case was dismissed, but this man was found guilty by a judge of absolutely horrible things. I'm not in a business, none of us are to, to rank domestic violence, but as horrible as the Ray Rice punch was. This, to me, was far worse and the fact that he is playing in the NFL, it's just stunning. But here he is, and you know what? No fans, Don, as far as I know, have canceled their season tickets...
LEMON: You think...
BRENNAN: There have been no protests in Dallas.
LEMON: All right. You just to make took a point and my editorial, my column that I wrote tomorrow, because Kamau, I say, if you -- whose fault, that I'm giving you a little preview for tomorrow, if...
BELL: Yehey (ph)...
LEMON: If the guys at Mizzou can stand up for what they believe in, whether you agree with them or not, if they can stand up for what they believe in...
LEMON: So then what does the NFL believe in? What do you, as people who love... BELL: As fans of the NFL, as people...
LEMON: What do you believe in?
BELL: It -- this is, I mean, Greg Hardy is a problem, certainly, but there's also a bigger problem called the NFL and Roger Goodell. And Roger Goodell needs to take a page out of Tim Wolfe's book and step down because he has not got -- he has not gonna handle on this lead.
[22:45:11] LEMON: All right, let me tell you...
LEMON: Let me say this because he did 10 -- he had 10 days, he did...
NICHOLS: He did investigate this. He did give the 10-game suspension that was reviewed.
LEMON: Which is the most for any player?
NICHOLS: I think for me, it is the Dallas Cowboys...
LEMON: Because they appealed it and...
NICHOLS: Well, they are ones employing him. And I actually would like to lay some of the blame at the teammates of Greg Hardy.
NICHOLS: If you are men in that locker room, and I have talked to a lot of very good of men in that locker room with daughters and sisters and mothers who they care about. Why you are not going to the coach and saying, sports is all about character, right? And team unity and how can we work together and trust our fellow teammate. And I cannot trust the man who would do this. I cannot work with a man who would not -- who would do this. I don't want the same name across my chest.
NICHOLS: And I also want to know where American Airlines is in this.
NICHOLS: I want to know where AT&T is and the sponsors.
LEMON: Yeah, because he -- Goodell did 10-game suspension.
LEMON: Then the players, they appealed it and the arbitrator decided that it should -- whatever the rules before it was ray Rice...
NICHOLS: It was about the policy and rules of whether it is about the actual... LEMON: Before Ray Rice and they said it was -- it would be four games. I want to read this is for -- this is for you -- Christine. Here is what he tweeted. This is (inaudible) he said, " Just had to say I express my regret for what happened in the pass and I am dedicated to being the best person and teammate that I can be." And he went on to say, "You know, what's important is that, you know, I'm back on the field and I'm happy to be back here." So here's -- devil's advocate. Not that I believe this, but there are people out there who believe -- hey, listen, of course you should get a second chance, but if you're a good football player, what does it have to do with your personal life? Because, if you work in a private industry and you do this, you don't necessarily lose your job. How do you respond to that, Christine?
BRENNAN: Well, I would disagree with that. I think we would all lose our jobs if we did anything like what he did, but, you know, the tweet of course came after the pictures came out. The tweet didn't come a month ago when he had that horrible meeting with journalists on, at his locker where he laughed it off and was talked about guns blazing even though guns were a big part of the violence against his ex- girlfriend, and laughed it all off, talked about the appearance of players wives. Again, people should look that up. You know it was sexism. It was misogyny at its worst. So the tweet now came, this kind of half apology, came after the pictures, when he was in the worst possible PR trouble. To me, that just doesn't really true and I make...
LEMON: What would make people take it more seriously, the players, the association, the arbitrator, you know, the NFL. What would it take, Christine?
BRENNAN: Well, it would take -- I think what Rachel said, we take sponsors. And we saw that with Adrian Peterson, right? Where, there were a couple of minutes sort of Vikings sponsors, they got very angry about Adrian Peterson, but we haven't seen that here. I do think, though, the union is the one that we should look at in this case because Roger Goodell, to Rachel's point, he did throw the book at Greg Hardy. He gave him 10 games.
BRENNAN: And then the union fought that and interestingly, the union had seen some of those pictures and they still fought it. I would love to ask them the questions of what were they thinking in that case.
LEMON: That was a thing, include this up either Rachel or Christine because the NFL says that they were aware of the Deadspin photos, but the Cowboys say that they hadn't seen them. Who's right here? Is that right?
NICHOLS: That is all correct, but the Cowboys, even themselves admit, they didn't need to see the photos.
NICHOLS: No one needed to see the photos. It's great. There's a lot of people in the public who didn't pay attention to this, who are now more galvanized. I guess that's why photos are affected, but there were a lot of people across the NFL, within the Dallas Cowboys, people who covered the NFL, who knew how bad this was because the actual description of events are grotesque. He dragged her by the hair from room to room. He threw her onto a pile of semi-auto weapons and threatened to kill her while choking her. You don't need photos to know how bad this was.
LEMON: So -- as a man...
LEMON: As a fan of this...
LEMON: You have two daughters.
LEMON: What happens if do fans have to demand...
BELL: I thought the blame starts to fall on us, on -- as fans of the NFL.
LEMON: Thank you.
BELL: We have to actually like decide, do we want to spend money on this thing? As long as the NFL -- as long we allow the NFL to print our money and take our money and vacuum it up, until we boycott the Super Bowl or something. We can't really complain about them because the Cowboys, even though they suck, still make money. And they suck. And they suck for a long time. But they don't feel any public pressure they still print the money. So I think we, as a community, as fans of the NFL, need to make them do better.
LEMON: So you're not a Cowboy fan?
BELL: They suck. They suck.
NICHOLS: They haven't won a game since Greg Hardy started playing for them. So there's that.
LEMON: It was an interesting conversation. And again, I said it was so uncomfortable watching. I felt guilty watching that game last night. I really did.
NICHOLS: Maybe more people will start to feel that way.
BELL: Turn it off.
LEMON: And I did. I did, actually.
LEMON: I did.
LEMON: Thank you. Christine, thank you. Appreciate it.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: All right.
LEMON: Coming up, a shocking story. A 6-year-old boy shot five times in the front seat of his father's truck, now two officers are charged with second degree murder.
[22:49:50] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Listen to this next story. Two Louisiana City marshals are charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis. The child was a passenger in his father's car, as the officers pursued them and opened fire. CNN's Martin Savage has the very latest for us. Martin, it's an unbelievable story, it's heartbreaking, a 6-year-old boy is dead. A lot of questions still remain. What do you know about this, and how this unfolded?
[22:54:06] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know Don, one of the real questions -- and this happened nearly a week ago, it will be a week ago tomorrow. How did this all begin in the first place? We pretty much know how it ended, in the hail of gunfire, all of it coming one way, that from the city marshals. And Chris Few is the father and he was critically wounded. His son was killed, but how did it start? Well, a source close to the information in this case has come forward to CNN and said the way it began on that Tuesday, was that Chris Few was in an argument with his girlfriend. It started in a bar, but then it moved outside. And that's where it was witnessed by these two deputy city marshals. It was apparently such a strong argument, they were afraid for the safety of the people involved and they were trying to intervene, they were trying to detain Chris Few. Chris Few, according to this source, got into his vehicle and took off with his child beside him. A mile and a half later, after the marshals called for backup, they pinned him in on a dead end street. What exactly happened after that isn't clear, but as we say, a lot of shots fired by the marshals and Few was injured, but it was only then they discovered his son had been killed. And now those marshals are under arrest.
LEMON: Yeah. Those two marshals involved, Martin, have been arrested. A $1 million bond set for each, as you say, but what can you tell us about those officers?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, there are questions in particular about one of the officers and allegations that have been made against him. That's going to be sorted out in due course. And the real question is. Is the fact that they may have a kind of questionable past play into the decisions they made to open fire? No one can say at this point. But I will point out this. It was reported early on that these marshals were apparently going after Few because they say they were warrants for his arrest. There were no warrants and Few had no weapon. Which raises the question why did the marshals think he was such a threat they had to open fire as they did? And so that's where it's still focused right now. And the only reason we know is because one of the backup officers had a body camera.
SAVIDGE: And this is apparently why the officers are charged with, as you say, second degree murder.
LEMON: Yeah. The head of Louisiana State Police called the video disturbing, disturbing video. Thank you, Martin Savidge, we'll keep following this. AC360 starts right after a quick break. Thanks for joining us.