On Wednesday, the mother of Heather Heyer, the woman murdered by a right-wing extremist in Charlottesville, Virginia, spoke to CNN’s New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman about the fate of her killer.
James Fields was sentenced to 419 years in prison for the murder, a sentence Heyer’s mother Susan Bro said leaves her “contented.”
“I felt secure in handing him over to prosecution and to judgment that it was not my problem,” she told CNN. “I have plenty else to do with the Heather Heyer Foundation, and I just didn’t feel like I needed to consume my own self with hate… In my life, I prefer not to hate people.”
Bro said she felt some relief about the trial being over.
“It was emotionally exhausting. I felt like I was onstage a lot of the time,” she said. “It was particularly difficult the day they played videos of the actual crime, as it was committed, and the day they talked about Heather’s autopsy report. Those were extremely difficult days. I will tell you that I sat and cried a lot in court.”
Bro said that she had never expected Heyer to die in this way.
“I basically said Heather’s death was an explosion in our lives,” she said of her victim impact statement. “It robbed us of somebody that was loving and caring and committed to family and committed to justice and committed to equality. Robbed the world of a wonderful person.”
Bro talked about her work with the foundation named for her daughter.
“Well, I say that Heather stood that day with her friends just simply as a support and ally to say ‘black lives do matter,'” she said. “I feel a lot of people will think that this trial is the end of the story, and this was not the beginning of the story nor is it the end of the story. The civil rights movement has gone on for decades, particularly here in Charlottesville, and it will continue.”
When asked to assess how the president handled her daughter’s death, Bro again talked about the “erratic” calls she got from the White House.
“I turned my phone off on the way to the funeral because I was trying to concentrate and I already had one politician call me. I just turned my phone off,” she said. “By the time I turned my phone on… I saw that there had been three phone calls from the White House during the funeral itself. They each sounded a bit increasingly frantic, which I thought was odd… The only thing I particularly had to say to him is ‘Please, think before you speak.'”
Bro was also bothered by Trump meeting with bikers, some of whom had racist tattoos, at the White House on the anniversary of her death.
“On the anniversary of her death I believe he had a large crowd of bikers come to the White House, and I have nothing against bikers, in general, except for the ones that are proudly displaying their Nazi slogans and tattoos, many of whom were at the White House, and again, he was delighted with the crowd,” she said. “I took that as a dog whistle.”
White House lawyers’ Trump defense ‘deteriorated’ as they tried to make the case for the president: CNN’s Toobin
As President Donald Trump's legal team put forward their defense of the president's Ukraine scheme at the impeachment trial on Saturday, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin weighed in on the effectiveness of what they had presented.
"There was information put forth today that would allow Republicans to vote against witnesses and to vote for an acquittal," acknowledged Toobin, offering as an example that the team did a good job at creating doubt over when the Ukrainians knew the foreign aid was cut off. However, "after that I thought it deteriorated."
"I was surprised that Jay Sekulow, who I think is a very fine lawyer, seen him argue in the Supreme Court several times, wandered in the wasteland of the Mueller report, that didn't seem relevant," said Toobin. "Mr. Philbin, who is not a spellbinding performer, went on about how it was legitimate in their view not to respond to subpoenas, not to provide any witnesses by the Trump administration. I thought that was a particularly weak performance. But, you know, if you are inclined to the defense point of view, there were facts and arguments to justify your position this morning."
Preet Bharara hints at ‘a whole bunch of Pandora’s boxes’ that could still be opened in Trump impeachment trial
On CNN Saturday, in response to the new video evidence of President Donald Trump discussing fired U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara walked through a major remaining risk to Trump and Senate Republicans in the impeachment trial.
"Just to back up, one of the things that Lev Parnas has been publicly talking about, there's — seems like there's no appetite to have Lev Parnas or anyone else as witnesses on the Republican side," said anchor Anderson Cooper. "Does this tape matter at all?"
"I think it matters in terms of context," said Bharara. "I think it shows the language that Trump used, what his state of mind was. You know, if you look at the strict transcript of the tape, arguably, you could say, look, there was an ambassador, claimed to be bad mouthing the president and claimed he'll be impeached. They had a mission to get rid of the ambassador because they had a different political errand, I guess. So, it's not crazy to argue, if you're just looking at this in isolation, that someone is saying that the president is going to get impeached. She works for the president of the United States in an ambassadorial capacity. He might have a reaction to that."
‘Fear and laziness’: CNN’s Avlon exposes Republican motives for blocking Trump impeachment witnesses
On CNN Saturday, fact-checker John Avlon broke down all the reasons Senate Republicans still appear to be firmly in President Donald Trump's camp in the impeachment trial.
"This is a jump ball moment in American history," said Avlon. "Democrats have finished laying out all the evidence, and today the president's team will begin making its case. But there's a debate going on behind the scenes in the Senate that's just as important as what's in front of the camera. It's whether the Senate will agree that facts and evidence matter, or whether this will be the first Senate impeachment trial in history to never have witnesses. Now, the vast majority of Americans believe there should be witnesses, but this is a Senate that has a habit of putting party over country. Now, we're already hearing three arguments designed to convince Republican swing state senators to become supine."