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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  February 19, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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good evening. president trump went on a twitter rampage over the weekend and it continued today. he said a lot of things that are not true. we do it because obviously he is the president of the united states. what a president says matters still and whether those
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statements can be trusted that certainly matters. keeping them honest, beyond just their raw faculty, you can draw your own conclusion about. that. not far from mar-a-lago today, there were funerals. two classmates will be laid to rest tomorrow and funeral will continue throughout the week. the president tweeted and played golf today. he did not mention them in his tweets. he tweeted yesterday. teacher scott beigel's funeral was yesterday. he did not mention them either. nor did he mention the funeral for alissa alhadeff. he did mention the shooting but not in the way that might be even remotely comforting for anyone, which is odd because if you listen to his words after the shooting, he made the following promise. >> to every parent, teacher and
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child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you. whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain. >> we are here for you he said, whatever we can do to ease your pain. teleprompter trump sounds like someone attempting to be what all presidents are ultimately in difficult times, a consoler in chief. contrast that with twitter on saturday night. "very sad that the fbi missed all of the many signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign, there is no collusion. get back to the basics and
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making us all proud. that is a pivot away from the murder of 17 people to himself. we talked on friday how the president's response had nothing to do with defending the country from a hostile act. he made that tweet everything about himself and nothing about those 17 lives. and on top of that, he is factually off base. this was not his only factually challenged tweet. it wasn't his only tweet that was centered on himself at the cost of others, even his own senior advisers. saturday afternoon talking about the indictments, quote, deputy stated at the news conference, -- attorney general rod rosenstein stated at the news conference, there is no allegation in the indictment that any american was knowing participants in -- to use the words in this indictment. which also as you will recall named quote persons known and unknown to the grand jury.
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both suggest more to come. rod rosenstein himself made it clear the problem is ongoing. the indictment says nothing one way or another about collusion. also saturday afternoon there was this. quote, funny how the fake news media doesn't want to say the russian group was formed in 2014 long before my run for president. maybe they knew i was going to run even though i didn't know. it is true the indictment's timeline does begin before mr. trump announced candidacy in 2014, but keeping him honest, that was widely reported. it wasn't ignored at all. the document also clearly states by the time candidate trump was the nominee, the russian effort was to hurt hillary clinton and to help him online and on the ground. by saturday night, he was tweeting again. there was the tweet using the 17 parkland victims to lash out about russia. and then he lashed out at his own national security advisor
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for saying this at the munich security conference. >> as you can see with the fbi indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute for a couple of reasons. first, technically it was difficult. but then also, you didn't want to divulge your intelligence capabilities. now that this is in the arena of a law enforcement investigation, it is going to be apparent to everyone. >> apparent except for the president who tweeted this out -- general mcmaster forgot to say that the election was not changed by the russians. what we do know is the indictment lays out a clear intent to, including helping
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third-party candidates trying to suppress the minority vote, fake rallies, the works, blaming it all on the last president. his tweet, "little adam schiff, now blaming the obama administration for russian meddling in the 2016 election. he is finally right about something. obama was president, knew of the threat and did nothing." while i respect the motive, they didn't want to be seen as meddling. the american people had a right to know what was going on. and they should have defended being more public and aggressive at the time at least in my view. >> now, it is a completely fair point to debate. but it is untrue to say they did nothing as the president has.
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intelligence committee weighed. and he tried to get congress to act but was blocked. he confronted vladimir putin face to face. and president elect trump was briefed on all of this. and all of those things were reported at the time on cable news, which the president watches obsessively, even though he pretends he doesn't. also, the president tried to suggest he never really down-played the russian threat quote, i never did say russia did not meddle in the election. i said it may be russia. here is what he actually said board air force one last fall. every time he sees me, he said i didn't do that. and i believe that when he tells me that he means it. he says i didn't do that. then you hear 17 agencies, meaning the intelligence communities. well, it's three. one is brennan and one is
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whoever. give me a break, they're political hacks. you can decide for yourself if he downplayed the threat there. tweeted about nascar, new poling he liked. an interview by oprah. then he went to play golf while they head funerals for two teen-agers nearby. let's bring in the panel. is it fair for the president to suggest that if fbi resources were not attached to the special counsel's russia probe, the bureau could have stopped the shooter? >> what that does is inject politics in the equation. and distracts us from getting to the bottom of what happened. and that is one of the instances that the fbi is targeted. for political reasons. fbi agents, similar to journalists, are trained to question everything in order to identify undertones and intent
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to determine if we are being told the truth. and with information now at our fingertips now, they can follow along well. let me tick through a couple of these attacks. the first one being, when the fbi hears the attack in florida could have been stopped if resources were not diverted to the russia investigation, they ask themselves is this a concern that the fbi could be better or is this some kind of obfuscation that the fbi could be better. when the fbi hears that the organization is in tatters and political manipulation going on. is this an attempt to obfuscate for political reasons. if you remember back in july in 2016 when the fbi director called out a lot of the bad judgment by secretary clinton, democrats slammed the fbi for
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violating institutional processes. were they concerned about the sanctity of d.o.j. guidelines or were they concerned about the election? there is clearly something else at play here. >> the idea that the president would conflate -- does that surprise you? >> it doesn't shock me. i do not believe the congress of the united states will not be able to investigate this. there is a variety of actors here. those actors include state mental health officials, police, the school that expelled him, the fbi, social media organizations. i would argue given the political commentary, including from the president trying to pin this on the fbi, tells me there th should be an independent group like the independent group of 9/11 because the president
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and congress are going to tell us we don't have to work on that, we can blame christopher wray and the fbi. >> it is also fascinating that the president going after mcmaster undermining him because he didn't go far enough in clearing the president and harping on the president's line about no collusion, nothing to do with trump. >> well, it is the problem the president doesn't have genuine interest in this investigation except for constantly talking about how it relates to him. so we have this treasure trove of new information that most people would be interested in. frankly would have been asking for an investigation into this. and all of this comes out and instead all he can think about is himself and you have to keep saying talking points on this. even though what came out had nothing to do with collusion. >> do you find it odd president trump is trying to blame russian interference on president obama?
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you can argue the point did president obama do much, did his administration do enough? he did impose sanctions, expel russian diplomats, whether that was effective or not. >> well, i think president obama made a big mistake and he deserves to take blame for that. i think the fbi made a colossal error. and it's fair to point that out and i hope that that is investigated. the problem, though of course, is that what donald trump is actually trying to do is to change the subject. so, yes, we should look, you know, president obama made an error in judgment. yes, the fbi made a colossal error. that is not the topic right now. he is changing the subject. he is diverting attention and i think it is shameful that the president would basically go after the fbi and try to politicize that in a way, to politicize the death of 17 school kids.
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i think it's really shameful. there's no doubt in my mind that's what he's doing. >> can i add -- >> go ahead. >> on that topic as well, i think it does a disservice to the men and women of the fbi. you make the claim the protection of life is not their primary claim. they can simultaneously protect the united states from the efforts of foreign intelligence services while they do that. >> we are going to continue the conversation. and later on new reporting on special counsel mueller's interest on jared kushner going beyond the russia story. that and more when we continue. you won't see these folks at the post office
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♪ up to 40% off at ♪ talking about the president's tweets this weekend and today, everything to do about russia as it relates to him. every time he sees me, he says i didn't do that and i believe -- i really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. but he says i didn't do that and then you hear 17 agencies and well it is three. and one is brennan and whatever. give me a break. they are political hacks. back to the panel. >> one of the things that is
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amazing to me is given the informational warfare to use the russian term and the department of justice used on friday, we still have not heard anything from the president about manning the ramparts and what his administration is going to do about this. i mean, we didn't hear it friday, his statement was all about himself and haven't heard it saturday and sunday, watching oprah and playing golf and not talking about the funerals. tweeting about everything other than what he wants this country to do to defend itself. >> i guess it is within the realm of possibility, and i don't want you to laugh at this, but it's within the realm of possibility that donald trump is doing something covertly, that they're not signaling. i would love to believe that the administration is working very hard on this problem to make sure it doesn't happen in the
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midterms, to make sure it doesn't happen in 2020. but that sounds pretty naive. i mean really no reason for us to believe that donald trump is taking this seriously. i don't think he has ever said anything bad about vladimir putin or russia. initially i think early on, i didn't agree with it, but there was an argument to be made that donald trump believed that the world had changed and that the existential threat, was now the global war on terror and russia and america could partner against terrorism. i thought that was misguided, but that was at least a rationale. and now with clear evidence that russia sought there is no dispute, that they sought to interfere in our elections. if he can't muster the moral courage and rhetoric to stand up against it, i would be surprised if we were doing anything on the ground to stop it. >> chris wray testified a week or two ago to say i think
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according to reporting by "the new york times", there hadn't been a cabinet meeting about it and how to fight back against it. >> let me tell you why this is significant. i'll take you inside the sort of guts for government for a moment. the department of homeland security ought to be talking, i'm sure they are, about how to secure elections. the fbi ought to be securing the information that came ot ut of that indictment. the cia ought to be conducting covert action against the russians. the department of state ought to be having very difficult conversations in moscow. you see those interworking parts. there's one place where that comes together and that's in the situation room in the white house.
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this is sort of common government 101, a lot of moving parts here. we have to make sure the information is right. we have to make sure that corresponds with what the department of state is saying overtly to the russians. can't have any confidence that the president has directed them to participate in those conversations. >> and the president likes to portray himself as strong, a tough guy, and yet his greatest weakness is that he cannot separate his own phobias and insecurities and doubts from the good of the country. i mean, he can't focus on russia because any time russia is talked about, he believes it weakens him as a president. because it's taking away from the legitimacy of his election. that's a huge weakness. >> and there is nothing about this tweet storm, right. i think over the weekend that projects any kind of strength either. it is concerning when you consider all of the things that have been going on.
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if the news with russia and the horrific shooting in florida. especially in light of that it's even more concerning that he has nothing really to add to the conversation except for to name call and say things that are even more upsetting to the children who are down in florida who have just lost their schoolmates and then to concoct this other narrative about russia as you went through in the beginning of the show, just completely false, just isn't even connected to reality. >> i mean, josh, the irony is the president could call up hiss director of national intelligence any time he wants and say tell me about the interference and there is no indication it is happening. >> you compare that to 2016 when you had agencies coming together trying to do what do we do about this case? there was a lot of disagreement but it showed the process was
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working and you had smart people trying to come up with good ideas. in this instance, we may be more focused on looking back, retroactively in what happened in the last election that the government is not equipped to looking forward. the men and women in the intelligence agencies will be doing so, but they need the leadership doing so as well. robert mueller is investigating jared kushner for his relationship with foreign investors during the presidential transition. the probe goes beyond russia and includes investors from china. details when we continue. dial your binge-watching up to eleven. join the un-carrier right now, and get four unlimited lines for only thirty-five bucks each. woah. plus, netflix for the whole family. on us. prrrrrrr... so, they get their shows... let's go, girl! you're gonna love this bit! and you get yours. watch however you want. on your phone, tablet, or tv. for a limited time, get 4 lines for just thirty-five bucks per line, with no extra charges. it's showtime! all on america's best unlimited network, t-mobile.
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we are learning that special counsel robert mueller is taking a deeper look at jared kushner. and his efforts to secure financing for his family's company from foreign investors during the presidential transition. these potential investors cnn is reporting include some from china and is the first indication that mueller is looking beyond kushner's contact
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in russia. what have you learned? >> reporter: we learned that special counsel robert mueller is asking questions about jared kushner's personal dealings during the transition. we're told by people familiar with the investigation that mueller's lawyers are asking about discussions kushner had with chinese and qatari investors. the discussions revolve around the building in manhattan at 666 fifth avenue, which kushner's company owns. the financing on the building is more than $1 billion in debt. we are told that the special counsel hasn't asked jared kushner's company for information. he hasn't asked to interview any of the people with the company,
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the executives. a spokesperson for the special counsel declined to comment. we were told, quote, another anonymous source with questionable motives now contradicts the facts in all of mr. kushner's extensive cooperati cooperation. nor would there be any reason to question these regular business transactions. we have multiple sources for the stories. these questions were being asked. and kushner himself may not have been asked about these. but there's no way for his attorneys to know what others are being asked. >> what do we know about the meetings that took place? >> reporter: the meetings is that these are meetings that have to do with chinese investors anbang.
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it's a chinese insurance company that owns the wald orf astoria. and as the company was looking to invest in the 666 property, there were talks between the kushner company and this chinese investors. and during this transition when they were close to getting a deal done, it fell through. there is also a qatari investor and we are told that deal fell through. and that happened during the transition. we are told this is why mueller is asking questions about it. >> and do we know what mueller might be focusing in on based on the types of questions he is asking? >> we are told it was explained to us as mueller is exploring. the idea is to see if there were any promises made to any companies, any investors, once kushner got into the white house. keep in mind this was during the transition as kushner was
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getting ready to come into the administration where obviously he's had a pretty prominent role, especially dealing with foreign nations and foreign contacts. >> particularly china. adam entis joins me. >> adam, in your piece, you write that jared kushner is china's dream come true as well as their lucky charm. can you explain what you meant by that? >> yeah. what happened was the chinese were trying to find ways to influence the trump campaign and later during the transition and later as a president and they used an entry point through henry kissinger who made the introduction to jared kushner. and they wanted to get the
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chinese in the front of the queue of countries that would get a meeting with trump after the election, and jared was facilitated in that. and the chinese reported to beijing. they met with jared, reported back to beijing and some of this was intercepted by u.s. intelligence agencies and found that the chinese felt they were getting everything and more than they expected in terms of access and toning down of some of the more hostile rhetoric that they saw during the campaign where trump was accusing china, for example, of raping the united states and using rhetoric like that. >> kushner has repeatedly disregarded the advisers of doing things like meeting
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one-on-one. he is confident that his way is the best way of doing things despite having limited world experience. >> yeah. i mean, certainly from jared's perspective, he feels as though the world of real estate was a good primer, preparing him for the role that he's played now as a diplomat and as a policy maker. but, obviously, professionals who have done this for their careers have a different view. what was happening in kushner's case because he was having these meetings be himself or with an aide in his office is that other diplomats were relying on intercepts of chinese communications in order to find out what jared was discussing with his chinese counterparts. and not just chinese in this case, but other countries as well. he tended to have these meetings, by himself and thought he was capable of doing that and frankly, we have no information that suggests that he did anything inappropriate in these meetings.
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we are referring to what other countries are reporting about these engagements. >> you also wrote kushner said either i am qualified to handle state secrets or not understand to understand state secrets. he hasn't been able to get a security clearance. it would to some indicate he would not be qualified. >> yeah. the adjudication process that is done by the fbi is very opaque. it is hard to really know what the issues are that might be impeding his getting this permanent clearance. according to the officials we spoke to, it is a combination of things. in addition to his misreporting he says by accident his foreign contacts when submitting his
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initial disclosure forms, there is also the issue of these intercepts where he is having these meetings including with the chinese ambassador in which he is discussing according to the intelligence, he is discussing not only policy matters but also his personal business matters. now, jared through a spokesperson told us that that was not true, that he did not mix business with policy. but, you know, it's the kind of thing when fbi agents are doing these investigations, when they see something like this, it's a red flag and they're not going to sign off on giving a permanent clearance until they figure out what is happening behind the scenes. >> thanks for your reporting. >> thank you. in the middle of the grief in parkland, florida there is word that the president may consider one gun control issue. and we will take a look at that next. -i've seen lots of homes helping new customers
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introducing the pork from jack in the box. two strips of pork belly, green leaf lettuce, juicy tomatoes and tangy honey aioli even you'll love it, martha security! get him! wow, do you guys workout? try my new pork belly blt, part of my food truck series. well, the funerals continue in parkland, florida, sometimes multiple shootings a day.
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in the aftermath, the white house says the president supports efforts to improve the federal background check system. this is based on a kfconversati the president had with a gop lawmaker last week. our pamela brown joins us with the latest. what more do we know these alleged improvements the president might sport in the background checks system? >> reporter: under this bill the goal would be to strengthen the background check system by holding local and federal law enforcement agencies accountable if they fail to upload criminal history records into the background check system. it wouldn't change the current system but the aim would be to strengthen it by creating these incentives for law enforcement communities to comply. it is worth noting here, even if the bill is passed and became law, it would not have prevented what we saw in florida. in that case, the gunman had a clean criminal history and had not been declared mentally defective by a judge, which is
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the standard to stop someone with mental health issues from buying a gun. >> i was told the president was discussing gun control at mar-a-lago this weekend. >> reporter: that's right. we were told from sources that the gun issue was on top of the president's mind among other things according to his twitter account. he was talking to his friends, his family, his sons, and what to do about the issue and how to make it harder for young people from buying the guns. he did see the protest from the students at the school down in florida and that he wanted to do something but it's unclear what exact steps should be taken here. here at the white house, the president will be meeting with high school students here on tuesday and what the white house is dubbing a listening session. >> thanks very much. students at the school are turning their grief into activism. they are following some big
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footsteps. they started an organization to fight the gun violence. they started an organization to stop the gun violence epidemic. captain kelly joins me now from tucson. i'm wondering what you make of efforts to improve the background check system? >> well, it is a step in the right direction, anderson. we just haven't seen that much from republican members of the house and senate or from this president. so i would say, you know, anything like support for background check bill would be great. it would be important that he actually follows that up and convinces republican members of the house and senate and even >> to support the bill, to get a vote on the floor of the senate, floor of the house so we can
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eventually get it on his post. >> nor bloom said this could well be important in breaking the ice of complicity that has paralyzed congress. it seems like the nra, other gun control groups fight any. >> so he was really interested in passing a piece of legislation, like the mansion, to me, ak become ground and like money from the national rifle association and the support that he got, i would think, you know, is going to try to con. >> a hundred students are
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preparing to head to tallahassee this week to put pressure on lawmakers there. this is happening at the federal level and where you've been focusing your efforts at the state cole. what's your spfrp and this governor rick scott, has some of the weekest signs ins country. he's signed some legislation that has may community less left tell that would address what happened in parkland would be we've helped pass thgs sfwrrngs and this is for law enforcement, when they find somebody who clear sli dangerous for some mental health issues, a very
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abbreviated process to make sure they can't buy a gun or own a gun at least temporarily. it would be a great step for florida. in this situation, it could have changed things. it really could have. >> are those the so-called kind of red flag laws that some states have? >> it's similar. i don't know if red flag is the best term for it. that's not what it's called in other states. but, yeah, that's the concept that gives law enforcement the tools. for the mieb to have that tool. we would need a federal we have to hold their members of congress and their state legislator accountable for the decisions they're making on this issue. 15 to 25 the death rate of gun lie lens in other whiches and 38,000 people die every year,
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it's completely ensbl were, even people who oppose -- who want some sort of a gun control regulation or more gun cole, it's not one of the top issues that actually they are voting on. >> that has been the case for decades, i would say. it's not one of the top issues but we're changing that. in 2017 in the election, the house of delegates, the elections in virginia, we pulled -- we did some, it polling but we also did some really poling. >> and i think -- i have to say i think it was like 40% of the people put gun violence at the top or the second position. so we're changing the politics, it's a we're up against an
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opponent that just has a lot of financial resources and that got us in this position. >> appreciate your time. thank you. >> thanks for success me on. >> and students tro test he's help found a group he calls never again.
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well as two more students from marjory stoneman douglas were buried today. the couple who took in the shooter after his adopted mother died. spoke about their reaction >> it was at the police station when they were going past us, and i basically -- i went after him. i really wanted to strangle him more than anything, and everything i wanted to say just didn't -- i tried to reserve myself. i said, really, nik?
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i yelled at him. he mumbled something but i didn't hear him. he said he was sorry. >> he said he was sorry. >> i didn't hear that. i was just furious and heartbroken. devastated. i still can't process what he's done because this wasn't the person that we knew. not at all. >> kaylee hartung is in parkland, florida tonight. what more are we learning, kaylee? >> a law enforcement person who has been working on the investigation said nikolas cruz bought ten weapons in the last year. allison cameron asked them how many guns they knew the shooter to own and they said, quote, a few. today we also learned more about the shooter's history of disturbing behavior through the release of a report from the florida department of children
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and families. specifically, there was an incident in september of 2016 where investigators went to the shooter's home, spoke with him, and his adopted mother. there they learned he had been cutting himself on snapchat. he had bought a gun and written nazi symbols and racial phrases on his backpack. his adoptive mother said that began after a breakup with hi girlfriend. >> he suffered from depression. adhd and autism. despite the behavior investigators learned up there, they determined his risk behavior as low, that he wasn't a danger to himself or others. >> what about this listening session the president is going to be holding? >> reporter: we don't know much, anderson. we know that president trump will be holding what they call a listening session on wednesday. beyond that, it's unclear. we don't know who will be participating.
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they said, we won't come to him, he will need to come to us. a previously announced town hall that cnn will be holding on wednesday night, but the president has declined to attend. it will be held in an arena nearby the high school. >> in washington today, 17 people took part in a lie-in representing the 17 killed in parkland. they were quickly joined by demonstrations across the street from the white house. joining me now is alex wynn, a survivor at the high school. he helped push his classmates back into the classroom. he founded a group called never again. he is one of the kids demanding gun control. alex, i appreciate you being with us. the survivors, teachers, students of the shooting, you said you would not attend the listening session. why? >> he was given the opportunity to come speak to us with cnn in
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the town hall and he declined that opportunity. i personally have not been invited to the white house, and if i am invited, i will not be in attendance. i will be speaking at the town hall this wednesday. >> i want to read one of the president's tweets over the weekend. he wrote, very sad that the fbi missed all the signals sent out by the florida school shooter. this is not acceptable. they are spending too much time trying to prove russian collusion with the trump campaign. there is no collusion. get back to the basics. what do you think of what the president tweeted this week? >> the first half of that tweet is semi-fine. the fbi did make a mistake in not investigating nikolas cruz earlier. but this is about us. this is about the students of parkland. people are dying and he is doing nothing about it. instead he talked about russia and collusion and his campaign.
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>> there are possibly efforts to strengthen the background check for weapons. does that give you any hope that he is listening? >> i know he's listening. and the fact that he said that does give me hope. however, i want to see action. i don't want to see talk. i want him to put a bill out. i want congress to put a bill out saying we need stricter background checks. here's how we're going to do it. a 19-year-old who can't purchase an alcoholic beverage should not be allowed to purchase an ar-15, a weapon of war, a weapon of destruction. it's absolutely absurd. >> i know you and other students have started this group called never again msd. what do you hope to accomplish with it and what do you plan to do? >> when we started never again msd, it started as a central space where people could talk and people could share their feelings. now it's turned into a movement.
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it's turned into an absolutely insane phenomenon where people are coming to us offering us help, and we're trying to demand action, and we are going to demand action. on march 24, when we march on washington, d.c. when we march for our lives. we're also marching for our children's lives, our children's children's lives. no child should have to feel the way myself felt and everyone else felt on wednesday when the shooting happened. >> i understand that you and others from this group say that you'll not return to school until laws have actually been changed. >> you know, i would like to say that i don't want to return to school. however, i know that day is going to have to come where i will eventually have to. and that day is going to be terrifying, to be completely honest. i'm terrified to go back to school. i want change to happen so badly. i don't want to feel unsafe in my own school. a school is supposed to be a place where we learn, where we gain knowledge, and that's how we've all been able to be
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speaking to you today, because of the knowledge we've gained from marjorie stoneham douglas high school. that's why we've done the movement. we don't want to feel unsafe in school. >> alex, i'm sorry we're speaking under these circumstances and i appreciate you talking to us. thank you. >> thank you. stay with us. we have a lot more ahead. president trump is back at the white house after his three-day florida trip where he spent a great deal of time tweeting. we also have breaking news from cnn counsel looking into business activities of his son-in-law, jared kushner. r rig, and get four unlimited lines for only thirty-five bucks each. woah. plus, netflix for the whole family. on us. prrrrrrr... so, they get their shows... let's go, girl! you're gonna love this bit! and you get yours. watch however you want. on your phone, tablet, or tv. for a limited time, get 4 lines for just thirty-five bucks per line, with no extra charges. it's showtime! all on america's best unlimited network, t-mobile.
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your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. other side effects include upper respiratory tract infection and headache. tell your doctor about all the medicines you take and if you're pregnant or planning to be. ♪ otezla. show more of you. 13 russians indicted in a mueller probe. lt weekend tweet storm making everything about russia all about himself. dragging the florida shooting victims into it. the students taking action they hope to make this latest tragedy the last. a story you'll only see here about a new dimension in the mueller investigation. will it cross a presidential red line. we begin with the tweets. jeff zelny joins us now. >> i was this palm beach with him covering him. it was