tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN February 18, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
happening now in "the newsroom" -- >> if you are a second amendment person, you need to slow down and look at reasonable things that can be done. >> in this case, there are a lot of warning signs out there for people in parkland, they have all the reason to be furious. >> stop using this for politics and come to parkland to talk to these kids. >> i'm sorry that you have grown up in a generation that has only known violence and there's no sanctuary, there's no place of ref yunel. the schools aren't safe, the churches aren't safe, the concerts. >> the tragedy we saw in parkland is unspeakable. and all over this country, parents are scared to death of what might happen when they send their kids to school. this problem is not going to be easily solved.
nobody has a magic solution. >> "cnn newsroom" starts now. hello, everyone. thank you for being with me on this sunday. i'm fredericka whitfield. we are following brand new video just into cnn that appears to show the florida school shooter walking casually to mcdonald's last week after the massacre. the gunman stopped at walmart to buy a drink immediately after the shooting. then he walked to mcdonald's where he sat down for a while. he was arrested shortly afterwards when a police officer saw him walking and he fit the description. president trump is turning that tragedy into a political excuse to lash out at the fbi tweeting 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 make us all proud!
in a barrage of 13 angry tweets last night and again today, the president is raging at the fbi. his own national security adviser and democrats blaming everyone but russia following the indictment of 13 russians accused of meddling in the 2016 election. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticizing the president's tweet blaming the fbi. >> we can't stop simply by blaming the fbi. we also have to do something about this rather immense threat facing the country from so many weapons of such high power that are accessible to people with serious mental health problems. >> let's start our coverage on these developments, cnn boris sanchez is traveling with the president and joins us now live from west palm beach, florida. so boris, we're learning the president has plans this week to have some sort of listening session with students and teachers. what do we know about those invited or what will be
discussed exactly? >> reporter: not much, fred. the white house putting out a schedule this afternoon saying the president would be hosting this listening session with students and teachers on wednesday, but not really detailing exactly who he is going to be meeting. these high school students are from here in florida, if, in fact, they are students from margery stoneman in parkland, florida. that's 40 miles way afrom he fr in mar-a-lago. it was only one of many tweets from the president, his main focus was the russia investigation. the president attacking some of his favorite targets and democrats in the media. and going as far as to undercut his national security adviser hr mcmaster, someone that he's long been rumored to have serious disagreements with. it all stems from a comment that hr mcmaster made at a security conference in munich, germany,
over the weekend. mcmaster was asked about the statements that were made by deputy attorney general rod rosenstein on friday and presenting his indictment. here's what mcmaster said. listen. >> as you can see with the fbi indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain. >> reporter: and here is what the president wanted to clarify, his tweet about hr mcmaster. he writes, quote, general mcmaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the russians. and that the only collusion was between russia and crooked hillary, the dnc and the dems. remember the dirty dossier, e uranium, speeches, e-mails and the podesta company. that statement doesn't mention collusion with hillary clinton at all, it doesn't mention the dossier or the euranium speeche.
one last thing that we have not seen from president trump at all in any of the tweets or the official white house statement put out on friday after the indictment came out, a condemnation of russia that is strong. with unthat one that possibly deters vladimir putin from getting involved in future elections. >> boris, we are also learning details about how donald trump is spending his time there at mar-a-lago, not playing golf, spending time with his sons don jr. and eric and dropping into a party? what more can you tell us? >> reporter: that's right, fred. sources are telling my colleagues that the president has decided to spend the weekend indoors in part because it would be bad optics to go golfing after the tragedy last week being so close to here. the president wanted to show respect to some of the victims and their families.
but he's essentially spending the weekend inside watching cable news and speaking to his sons who sources tell us have been urging him to respond to some of the allegations being made against him in resend weeks. and to take on the fbi in light of the revelations in the indictment. the president, obviously, responding through twitter again today. we understand that shortly after he paid a visit to the hospital and the sheriff's station on friday, he dropped by a studio 54-themed party at mar-a-lago before going to bed. and he stopped at a gala last night before heading into his private residence around 10:00 p.m. we first started seeing the very emotional tweets by the president around 11:00 last night, if you recall. fred? >> all right. boris sanchez, thank you so much. so for all the president's bluster about the fbi, not everyone is ready to put the full blame on the agents. >> i think it's an absurd statement, okay? absurd. the fact of the matter is, the
fbi apparently made a terrible mistake and people should be held accountable. but we need leadership out of the executive. this is a great opportunity for common sense steps that can be taken. >> all right. joining me now are cnn presidential his or then and director of the presidential library, nick tally. and governor kasich just called out the president's leadership. do you agree? >> yes. we have failed the students of our country. and when i say "we," i mean adults. people who have been discussing these issues since sandy hook. we, as a people, need to figure out a way to respond. it's not good enough anymore to say, well, we'll find the time to figure out why one element of american acceptualism that more
of our children die in schools across the country than any country in the world. governor kasich's point is the following, president trump has enormous credibility with people who feel that any gun control is part of a slippery slope that will lead to the elimination of their guns. anybody who has studied the way in which governor control knows that is not the point of gun control. the assault weapons ban is to get rid of assault weapons, ar-15s, like the one mr. cruz used. so what mr. kasich, the governor is saying to the president, you can move the needle. your people will believe you when you say, we don't need assault weapons on and on the streets. let's get rid of them. that's what the point is. and if the president is unwilling to do it, it's hard to imagine anybody who is going to
move the folks in gun culture, america, at this point. >> and then in a tweet, the president linked the shooting in florida to the fbi being too busy working on the russia investigation. now we have heard from the cnn reporting, you heard our boris sanchez there in florida saying that sources are saying that the president has been spending time in mar-a-lago with his sons eric and don jr. who encouraged him to go after the fbi hard. so is this a strategy we're seeing from the president, channeling the anger of what happened at the fbi agency? >> this is a clear sign that president trump has really decided to go to war and will continue to go to war with the fbi. and in situations like this one, when you have an intelligence agency that does make a mistake, usually there is an acknowledgment by the person of that directive to look at what
went wrong, but also context that is for all the work the intelligence agency does to keep americans safe. instead, you mind a tweet storm president trump will add in the fbi and not acting on the intelligence it had. and bringing russian collusion into that. this is a president we have talked about him being disciplined or just sort of firing off tweets left and right. but really, he has a very disciplined concerted strategy, and this could ultimately hurt the legitimacy of his presidency. and some are saying russia influenced the outcome of the election. and ultimately, you know, the mueller probe.
you hear the white house say they are cooperating with the mueller probe, but president trump has been conflating the fbi and robert mueller and suggesting that if they weren't so obsessed with russia, they would be able to prevent these mass shootings. and the reality is he's not talking about guns. he's not talking about the issues a lot of people in florida want to talk about. >> and avoiding the gun one on friday. this is strategy about mental health. the president is asked when or if directly he'll visiting guns when he visited a hospital in behavior -- in florida.
he addressed the question and talked about guns throughout the weekend. he has a listening session with students and parents this week on wednesday. how will he will able to avoid the issue of guns when talking about this shooting. >> it's time for a lot of listening on the part of people who are making the very tough argument that the second amendment permits the ownership of any kind of gun. let's keep in mind why we want leadership from our president. our president is supposed to represent all of us, not just the people, not just the -- when we have a national tragedy like we just had, this moment of when
a leader is needed to -- leadership is needed everywhere. it's not always from the top. but the president can pull it together and give us a sense of mission and purpose and sympathy. and mr. trump time and time again shows himself incapable of doing that. it is all about him. it's all about his power, how much people like him or don't like him, it is never about the people suffering. and that is what we need now. we need a leader who understands what empathy is and can show it. >> patrick, speaking of leadership, you heard a lot of the young people immediately after the shooting and heard them at the anti-gun rally in ft. lauderdale yesterday. extraordinary. and now there is a planned march calling for a stricter gun control, calling for some action. and we'll see that in later march. do you see that these young people, just might be more influential when it comes to
creating or crafting some sort of change from the white house, unlike we have seen post other historic shootings? >> right. you were seeing a lot of number from the young students who are pretty eloquent about basically saying the oldest generation and the democrats and republicans, people taking money from the nra, and they are usually using language that has a social media energy around it. sort of the badge of shame. whether president trump and republicans and democracies are shunned on the big issue is a open question. the reality is that the nra in 2016 spent more money on ads supporting donald trump than any other candidate, about $11 million.
they spent nearly $20 million against hillary clinton in ads! and as everyone knows, we have seen so many members of congress on the sunday shows this morning, sort of suggesting they are in favor of common sense gun reform. >> nobody is say iing this is wt we are going to do. but we can't be naive, the fbi is a powerful and financial force in american politics. and whether these sort of eloquent students in florida and different cities can change the conversation or aexert pressure. and that is something to watch for. we have not seen that quite yet, but i don't think we we bnaive enough to say, this is enough here. >> thank you so much, patrick healy. and we are following breaking news of the school
shooter walking to mcdonald's just moments after the massacre. the shooter stopped at walmart to buy a drink immediately after the shooting. and then he walked over to mcdonald where he sat next to if it. so what is it like at the high school? the roads were rap reportedly show showing this video pinpoints a moment in the time.
around 3:00, and as you say, he was going from the subway and the walmart across the street to the mcdonald's when the video captures that moment. so it is critical to understand the timeframe of the day and what he was doing before being apprehended. and cnn has obtained documents. what this outlines is that in 2016, september, nick -- the state video got involved and there's video of him cutting his arms. they talked to his mom, who is alive at the time, and they talked to mental experts. after two months of and
investigation, they said they thought he was able to assist the team. as to what is happening now? the streets are open and this is the first time the public is u allowed to come here. there is a growing monument of flowers, balloons and crosses, one for each of the 17 victims murdered on wednesday. >> while two were laid to rest today. funeral schedules are still ongoing. martin savage, thank you so much. coming up, student who is lived through the terrifying shooting are speaking out demanding action from lawmakers and the president of the united states.
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welcome back. students of stoneman high school are demand iing for something t occur. >> the number of gunshot victims will go up and the number of worth will go down. and we will be worthless to you. to every politician who is taking donations from the nra, shame on you. >> my main concerns are funeral, gun control and whether or not i'm going to be shot wherever i go. my innocence, our innocence has been taken from us. >> joining me right now, survivors emma gonzalez who you saw at the microphone and alex wind. good to see you both, sadly under these circumstances. so after the tragedy, you are now in this moment where your voice is being heard loud and clear. so emma, do you feel confident that this volume you all are bringing will indeed bring
change? >> i do feel confident in that. we are incredibly loud, shrill-voice kids. and it is hard for our parents to ignore us. it's going to be impossible for the country to ignore us. and since we have been put on this national platform in such a short period of time, we are going to be -- listen, everybody is listening to us all of a sudden. and we want to thank you, guys, for having us on the show. >> we are glad you are able to be with us. and, you know, alex, the white house is planning a listening session this week with students and parents. we don't know who the students or the parents are, but would you want to be a part of that wednesday listening session? >> you know, i would love to be a part of it. however, there is a town hall planned for wednesday, which president trump was asked to be
at and he denied that invitation to plan his own town hall, which is absolutely absurd. >> so what is your feeling about what could come from the listening session with the president. of course, it is simultaneous to the cnn town hall, the cnn town hall scheduled before we had learned about this white house listening session. but what are you hoping to be achieved in either form of discussion or listening? >> well, i can say right now, i won't be at the listening session. i'm going to be at the town hall. i believe most of my colleagues will be at the town hall and not at the listening session. if donald trump wants s to lis to us, he should have taken the first invitation. >> the fact that he's organized this just proves he's scared of us and that he didn't want to
face us. he wants to device us and. >> we're hoping by this protest, if you would, from this listening, we are ready for action and ready for change. >> we keep asking him to do the right thing and he keeps doing the not-right things. we are going to help him to try to say, shame on you for taking the nra money. at the same time, you sent the message to other politicians. but i heard that this can be a clean slate moment from this point forward to stop nra money.
if this is a clean sweep for those politicians, would it be willing for it -- do you feel like it has been worth it up until this point? >> reporter: the clean slate moment has been given. and from today on, from this morning on, this is when the backfire began. we want people to take back their support for the national rifle association, which
supports the murder, slepsless slaughter of children over the years. we want everybody to understand we are giving these people a second chance, but if they are not going to take the second chance, i don't know what more we can do for that. i can guarantee that any candidate that received money from the nra won't receive a single vote. >> i know emma gonzalez, alex wind, you want to put your actions into work. not just this wednesday at the town hall meeting, but you're scheduled march 24th and other mid-march planned gathering in ment the area.
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trump is going on a barrage of tweets. democrats and the fbi say the agency was too busy with the russia investigation and missed many signals about the parkland florida shooter. there has been no rebuke of the kremlin. instead, the president tweeting out comments thlike this one, quote, if it was the goal of russia to create discord, disruption, and chaos within the u.s., then with all of their committee hearings, investigations and party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. they are laughing their a's off in moscow. get smart america! now that we have seen these indictments, how concerned are
you about russian meddling in the upcoming midterm elections this year? >> well, fredericka, my concern remains high. as everyone knows, back in january the intelligence committee was first to point out in the unclassified intelligence community that we understood without a doubt that russia went to great lengths to interfere in our election. and now we have the indictments coming out that absolutely solidify that it happened. so now we are at a point where the concern shifts from talking about whether or not it actually happened. we know that conclusively now. and now the national security community is really concerned with what we are going to do to respond to russia and to hold them accountable for what they did. and that is something that is not only a national security problem, but what most of america should be waiting for. >> in order to know how to react, you usually want to take the lead from the white house, wouldn't you? >> absolutely. in this case, it is still baffling to a lot of us. but we can't understand what it is that vladimir putin and the
russians have on this white house and on this president that keeps them in check with regard to holding him accountable. we have the sanctions that would have gone a long way toward sending a strong message to russia. going into the 2018 election, we know that they are up to it again. so there's a lot of concern here. and, you know, the president says we're going to punch back. so far we have not punched back with regard to russia. >> have a log to former presidential candidate bernie sanders on the imposing threat of russia. >> this is not just about the 2016 campaign. they intend to do this in 2018. and i think one of the weirdest things in modern american history, is you have every intelligence agency, you have the mueller report, you have trump's own administration saying the republicans want to sabotage the 2018 campaign. everybody knows this except the president of the united states. >> yeah. >> and i think people are asking, what is going on with
this president? what we have got to do, and i touched on some of the issues front end, front end, what we have to say to the russians, you are doing something to undermine american democracy. you are not going to get away with it. this is a major assault. if you do that, there will be severe consequences. >> so, shawn, there are different messages coming from the united states to, say, russia. people in russia say the indictments just blather. when you have conflicting views, members of congress who are saying, this is absolutely horrible, this campaign, and you have the president who is not being critical. russia kind of feels emboldened, does it not? >> there's no doubt they feel emboldened. for russia, there's a question of whether or not russia can have an influence on the midterm elections. people have to understand that
really doesn't matter. we are operating in the information spectrum. and so what russia really needs to do is they need to continue to have us talk about the possibility that they can have an influence on our elections and to have people doubting whether or not the information that they are receiving is actually real information or maybe it is information that is put in the information space by the russians. that is a success. and so, you know -- >> for russia. >> absolutely. we shouldn't be so concerned about russia impacting voting machines and the infrastructure, what have you, they are successful as soon as we start to change our behavior and react in a way that we know they are trying to influence us. i would add further, it is not just what is happening here in the united states, the rest of the world is looking at russia and going, wow, russia potentially has the ability to impact elections in the united states. they are still thinking that maybe russia had an impact on who the current leader of the free world is. that's an immense amount of power and credibility for russia with the rest of the world. >> that is big.
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parkland, florida, is a community in morning as three of the victims of the horrific school shooting are laid to rest today. religious leaders are helping them through the most difficult time. joining me is ibrihim, he is a rabbi. you have met with four of the victims affiliated with your synagogue. what are you hearing from parents in the community? and how in the world are they holding up? >> well, actually just to clarify that, i personally am very close with one of the families. i did meet with the other families of many different faiths, especially on the night of the horrific shooting. but one of the families i have
been spending a lot of time with. >> and how are they managing, i mean, it is just inconceivable the grief so many where feeling. the family you know so well, how do you comfort them? what do you say? what are they saying? >> well, the way to comfort them is really to just be there for them at this point. there is a point in time where probably less words is better. knowing that they have loved ones, knowing that they have family in a larger community is dear for them and really cares about them. that's the greatest comfort. i was at the rally, we organized together with city leaders on thursday night a massive rally that was wonderful. and i'm sitting there and see the young students in front of me crying. i see the innocence in them, they have faced evil in the worst way possible.
and when you are speaking, you have to talk to them. it is so important that you talk to them. and the family has to focus on helping them. that is probably the best comfort we can give to the families. >> and, you know, everyone processes things and tragedy differently. some really want to be quiet, some want to be left alone. and then there are others who find it can that athartic to bed to be heard. we are seeing an extraordinary display, particularly from young people who are turning their sadness, their anger, their grief into promising some action. is there a way in which to harness that and to share coping with a number of people in the community that you're dealing
with? >> that is a very good point. and i think that is key. this tremendous evil and darkness and so on, we don't want to allow it to define who they are, but we channel that grief into building. i am a disciple, i'm a rabbi. and after many kids were gunned down and murdered in israel, a rabbi there said you have to channel that grief into building. and that is so important here. we need to channel that into building and to growth. and more specifically, you know, there's a lot of people who are very passionate who have differences of opinion, but let us not allow that to turn into hate. that is so destructive. you know, passionate, debate is great and actions should be taken. and i personally believe that we have to focus a lot on bringing
god and morals back into the school, perhaps a moment of silence, a moment of meditation, where everybody can decide how to use that so we don't affect anybody's sensitivities. we respect those who believe in one way versus another way. but we need to focus on how to make people better human beings. we need to focus on the value of life so that a person who is, may be a little -- we just need to focus a little on the value of every individual life to bring so much healing. and i think that will also help prevent such tragedies in the future. >> rabbi avraham friedman, thank you for your wisdom and your time. appreciate it. >> thank you so much. >> thank you.
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overnight president trump politicizing the florida school shooting tweeting, quote, 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. the presidents throughout the decades have had to step in during times of tragedy to serve as consoler-in-chief. president barack obama faced the sandy hook massacre while president. george w. bush faced the virginia tech massacre and 9/11. cnn presidential his or ttorian
joining me now. how do presidents respond to tragedy? >> well, the first thing i would say is that, of course, our hearts and our thoughts are with those who are dealing with the grief right now as a result of this. so i mention this now because i'm now going to explain or try to share why i think the president has been truly terrible in responding to a national need for real condolences. think about how ronald reagan, for those old enough, and if you're not old enough, go to youtube. look at what ronald reagan said after the challenger disaster. he was not reading his own words because ronald reagan would change speeches, but listen to his tone and look at his eyes. that's a consoler-in-chief.
if you don't want to look at ronald reagan, look at bill clinton when he went to oklahoma city after the bombing. listen to his words. look at his face. look at his eyes. look at the real empathy. and look at george w. bush after 9/11. the fact of the matter is, we have been blessed in our country more often than not with presidents who understand that they are more than simply the head of government. that they are a spiritual leader, not in religious terms, but they represent the spirit of the united states. >> it does set the tone. >> and president trump, i'm afraid, fred, has not shown that ability. in fact, this weekend his tweets were the opposite of what a consoler-in-chief should do. his tweets were that of a divider-in-chief. >> we appreciate your perspective. i've been around a while, too, and remember all those moments that you just pointed out. and that certainly does help put things into perspective.
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don't miss a very special town hall this wednesday. survivors of the florida school shooting will be joining cnn to talk about this tragedy in florida and their action that they are demanding out of washington to provoke some change. that is this wednesday night at 9:00 eastern time only on cnn. "newsroom with ana cabrera" starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> you are in the "cnn newsroom." i'm anna cabrera. the los angeles times is reporting that the former deputy
campaign manager to donald trump rick gates agreed to plead guilty for fraud, making him the third person that we know of to cooperate with special count el robert mueller. i want to bring in political correspondent sara murray on the phone with more on this breaking news. sara, what all is involve in this deal? >> reporter: rick gates is going to plead guilty. he will testify against paul manafort. paul manafort was a co-defendant in this case. they both pleaded not dpl when facing the charges for financial crimes that were unrelated to the campaign. and according to the "l.a. times," rick gates could spend 18 months in prison. let me give you context here, for the charges he was facing, gates could have faced upwards of ten years in prison. this is someone who has four young children, a young family who is facing financial pressure. it would have been very expen expensive to go to trial, but he's facing personal pressure from his loved ones to wrap this up