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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  February 27, 2018 7:00am-8:00am PST

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good morning, efveryone. i'm john berman. a big moment in the russia investigation. the white house communications director who does virtually no communicating in public at least is set to appear in private before the house intelligence committee. there is no aide closer to the president or who has been around him more since the beginning of his campaign. also, house speaker paul ryan set to answer questions any moment. he will be pressed on what congress will do, if anything at all, in the wake of this school massacre in parkland, florida. much more on that in just a moment. but, first, a moment in the russia investigation that might explain why the president is shouting this morning, virtually at least, look at those words, he posted a short time ago, witch-hunt. cnn's manu raju on capitol hill with the latest. hope hicks, has she arrived yet?
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>> reporte i think manu is having a hard time hearing me. >> reporter: any minute now, john, we're expecting hope hicks to walk into the house intelligence committee meeting room just below me. the question is whether she's going to answer questions about her time during the transition period, and in the white house. what we can tell you is that congressman mike conway, the republican's leading the russia investigation, just told our colleague that he expects her to answer all those questions during the transition and during the white house. the question is whether or not she will actually do that or whether or not she will do what steve bannon did when he appeared before the committee earlier this month, he said he would not answer questions because it preserves the right of the president to invoke executive privilege during the transition and the campaign. what hope hicks is uncertain. whether she has an agreement with the committee also uncertain. mike conway is not certain of
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any agreement she has reached to limit her testimony. other republican members too want her to answer more questions, john, including tom rooney, the florida republican who is a senior member of the house intelligence committee, said, i do, when i asked him does he want her to answer questions during the transition and during the campaign, during her time at the white house. so the question is will she actually answer those queries when members do pose them to her in a matter of moments. there is expectation she will limit her testimony based on what steve bannon did and based on corey lewandowski, who separately would not answer questions about his time after he left the campaign in june 2016 and that is -- those are -- those -- the democrats have demanded a subpoena for lewandowski to answer questions, and also demanded that steve bannon to be held in contempt. what will they do if hope hicks doesn't answer questions. all answered in just a matter of moments here, john.
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>> expectations are one thing, reality is another. we will have to wait and see whether hope hicks does what past aides have done and refuse to answer questions on the presidency, the transition. manu raju on capitol hill, thanks very much. straight to the white house, right now, where the president has been using his executive time to vent out loud and in all caps on the russia investigation. abby phillips at the white house this morning. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, john. the president has ended his relatively lengthy silence on twitter with more tweeting about russia. he's been tweeting all morning, with some older quotes from fox news appearances over the course of the weekend. that's what is so interesting about this, the president isn't watching this morning necessarily, he's tweeting things from all the way back on sunday. one from ken starr that was on fox and friends and another from jonathan turley, praising his comments on fox on saturday night. so it all is full circle here. he ends it all with that last all caps witch-hunt tweet, which
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is a common refrain for this president and might very well be linked to the fact that hope hicks, one of his closest aides and someone who has been around the president for a long time, is testifying before the house intelligence committee this morning. president trump has a busy day ahead of him with meetings, but for those precious hours in the morning, his time is all his and he's used it to once again weigh in on this russia investigation. hammering home the point that he thinks that this investigation is all a hoax. no word yet today from the president about the other burgeoning issue at the white house, which is guns and what to do about gun violence. i think we're probably going to hear more from him on some other topics today, but for now, we know what is on his mind and it is russia once again, john. >> abby phillip, we know what's on his mind, thanks so much. appreciate it. we're also waiting as we said for house speaker paul ryan. he will answer questions about what congress will do or not do this morning in terms of possible gun control measures.
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while we're waiting for the speaker, our sunlen serfaty on capitol hill to give us a sense of what might be going on up there. sunlen? >> reporter: certainly this morning there have been a bunch of key closed door meetings, members of the house democrats, house republicans, behind closed doors. we likely will, emerging from those meetings, learn potentially what the next steps to all this, if anything, will be on capitol hill. of course, we have heard from president trump who has been pretty vocal in the last few days and since the parkland shooting, that he wants to see some action on capitol hill. but keep in mind, it is the republican leaders in the house and senate who will be the ultimate people and those responsible for putting legislation on the floor. they have a key role in this. that's why what we hear from republican leaders up here today, the first full working day, for the congress, since the parkland shooting, what they say so important to determine the next steps. we will be waiting for republican leaders, including house speaker paul ryan come to
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the microphones and brief reporters in the next few minutes where we potentially will hear a path forward and the house speaker's office and recent days have made it clear that as of now, he is going to wait to see what the senate does to take the next steps. so certainly that's likely something that we'll hear him repeat today when he's pressed by reporters and leaders today, we'll hear from the senate leadership, certainly lawmakers are facing considerable pressure and adding into the mix the fact that you have this stoneman douglas students up here on capitol hill, they huddled with house democrats this morning, will meet with individual lawmakers, it adds to the considerable pressure, john, that they're facing. >> sunlen serfaty on capitol hill, we'll watch very closely, expecting to hear again from the house speaker any minute. in the meantime, joining me, ron brownstein, senior cnn political analyst and cnn commentators bakari sellers and alice stewart. alice, interesting, someone reporting that paul ryan says he's going to wait to see what the senate does on guns. the senate saying, hey, wait a
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second, we're waiting to hear what the president wants on guns. everyone is looking at everyone else. who is leading on this? >> i would like to think the president will lead on this. he's made it quite clear what he wants on this. there is virtually universal consensus with regard to strengthening background checks. >> alice, i think you're right, most of the time on most things he hasn't made it clear on this because on the single issue of raising the minimum age to buy a rifle up to 21, he said it, then he stopped saying it. so we don't know where he stands on that. and in terms of background checks, he's never made clear what he wants to strengthen, has he it? >> he made it clear he wants to stre strengthen the process and make sure the proper information is put into the system. he is clear also on a few things. certainly banning bump stocks, he's made that clear, hardening schools, no more gun free school zones, which are a welcome mat for those looking to go commit violence and also he's a big proponent of arming certain
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teachers and those on campus that want to have a firearm, that are adept at firearms and who are well trained. that's something that he is quite clear on. the nra also is, you know, so many people are pointing the finger at them, stopping some type of measure, they're very strong on making sure that people that should not have guns that are a harm to themselves or others, they're the ones that shouldn't have guns. this is about making sure that we keep all guns out of the hands of some people, not some certain guns out of the hands of all law abiding citizens. >> bakari, some democrats have suggested that they may be hesitant to support this fix nics thing, to give incentives for states to report to the national background check because it does not go far enough. do democrats, though, do you think they need to get on board with measures that go anywhere and not hope for the moon on this. i interrupted alice, so i owe you an interruption and i'll do it at any time. >> i'm figuring that the interruption is coming anyway.
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but, you know, i say that democrats have to seize this moment, not often do we get a moment in time where the public perception is right where we need to be to create the change we want to see. i think that there is simple things that we can do. i think that not only can we have universal background checks, but i also think that we can study gun violence at the cdc like the public health crisis that it is. i think that we can close the person to person loophole sale and i also think that we can ban bump stocks and close the charleston loop stole. i think those are bipartisan efforts. as far as who is going to lead this if, in fact, after sandy hook, the united states congress and you have 20 plus kids who are murdered and gund down in their own elementary school if the united states congress doesn't do anything then, i'm sorry to say, i do have much faith they're going to do anything now. i have more faith in the young people leading this movement, the public putting pressure on our members of congress, than i do on the president of the united states, paul ryan and mitch mcconnell. >> i'll interrupt you only at the very end because i want you
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all to hold for a minute. ron brownstein, i want you to talk about young people in a moment, you have a fascinating take on this. joining me now, and he has to run, we're getting to him right now, senator john kennedy, republican from louisiana. senator, thank you very much for being with us right now. i'm glad you jumped in at this part of our discussion. we're talking about this measure before the senate, that at least the number two in the senate, john cornyn, wants to bring up, which is, you know, to fix, called the fix nics plan, to address some changes to improve the national criminal background check on buying guns. you have actually opposed these changes over the last couple of months. why? >> i support the spirit of senator cornyn's bill. >> but the spirit isn't the legislation. >> i just don't think it is going to do anything. i mean, this is what it says. it says, look, we know for a fact that many federal agencies and many states are not sending information into the nics
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database. there are holes in the program you can drive a mac truck through. so in order to encourage compliance, we're going to tell the federal employees if you don't start doing your job, we're going to take away your bonuses. well, why are they getting bonuses to begin with. to the states, it says pretty please, if you'll do your job, we might give you more money. we'll give you a leg up on getting grants. that's not going to accomplish anything. can i just make one other point? if the president wanted to do something here, and i think he does, i would encourage him to send out, to call all the cabinet secretaries in and say, look, i need the names of the people in your agencies who are responsible for sending information into the database. i want their names, and their phone numbers. and if they don't do their job, then fire them.
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they already have an incentive to do their job. it is called a job. and if the governors, i mean, i've listened to a lot of our governors who i love dearly talk about the need to do something, the need to do something. and i -- look, i understand that. they could start with making sure their states are cooperating with the database. >> okay. so, senator, you say you support the spirit of the measure being proposed by john cornyn. you sound like you want states to comply here. >> yes. >> in order to get to that spirit, in order to achieve that spirit, in order to achieve anything, is there any gun measure, any legislation you can conceive of supporting? >> i don't think we need more gun control laws. >> not a single one? >> no. i think we need more idiot control. look what happened here. there were, what, 40 different calls placed on -- >> who is -- i'm sorry, you use
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that word -- you used the word idiot, i heard you use that before, who are you referring to specifically? >> i'm talking to the people who do this. some of whom are mentally ill, and to them i would say, okay, misuse of the word idiot, but i'm talking about other people, we just automatically assume some of these folks are mentally ill. i happen to believe there is evil in the world. but i'm not going to -- >> so senator, when we talk about guns, hang on, one point here, i'm not going to use the word you use there, but if you're talking about mentally ill, the issue is how do you keep guns out of their hands, how do you keep them from getting guns, if they should not have them? what is the tool that you suggest using to do that? >> we have the tools in place. they're not being implemented. let me say it again. the nics database has holes big
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enough to drive a mac truck through. in the instance in florida, with the man who killed all these people, there is an assumption he's mentally ill, i don't know that, so i will call him an idiot. i don't know that. >> i want to move on to other subjects now. i want to move on to other subjects now you say you support the spirit of this. has the spirit prevented these school shootings? did the spirit prevent the shootings in las vegas? >> no, because the law is not being implemented. >> you need more spirit then. >> the law is not being implemented. the nics database, let me say again, is not complete because the states and the federal agencies are not sending in the information. >> you make your opinion extremely clear. no one could ever say you don't on that, senator. we appreciate you coming on and giving your opinion on that. quickly on russia, the president this morning called it a witch-hunt. the various investigations into russia, i assume he means the special counsel's investigation. is it a witch-hunt?
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>> no. not in my opinion. i believe that i've seen classified and unclassified information that indicates to me that, a, vladimir putin is a thug, and, b, he tried to interfere in our election, and, c, he will continue to do so, and, d, we can't reason with him. reasoning with putin is like trying to hand feed a shark. >> you're getting deep in the alphabet. too deep for me. let me read what you said before, to me, the one fact we know is that russia did try to interfere in our elections and they're going to keep try doing it. that's why i think we ought to knock the hell out of them. you say, not mincing words. is the trump administration knocking the hell out of russia on election meddling? >> secretary mnuchin testified in banking committee, i asked him specifically why they were implementing the sanctions. he said that they would very
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soon. i said we ought to hit russia with sanctions so hard that they cough up bones. i think that's the only thing they understand. >> but, secretary mnuchin saying soon doesn't sound like knocking the hell out of them, doesn't sound like they're coughing up bones right now. does it to you? >> i asked him to define soon and his answer was a little bit vague. but i'm going to take him at his word. >> senator john kennedy, from louisiana, we do appreciate you being with us, sir. thank you. >> thank you. >> we have our eye on another part of capitol hill now, house speaker paul ryan due to speak in this room any minute to address, we believe, what the house will do to address this school shootings. and a former neighbor of the florida school shooter speaking exclusively with cnn. >> he was pure evil. i was actually going to move when he turned 18. i did not want to live down the street from him, knowing he was
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live pictures from capitol hill, we're hearing from house republican leadership on their plans for the week, and if, and how they plan to address the school shootings in parkland, florida, nearly two weeks ago. we'll jump in when house speaker paul ryan takes questions. in thethank you for your patience. we're jumping around quite a bit. i appreciate you sticking around. ron brownstein, you have noted over the last two days that what we're seeing in the wake of parkland is maybe, maybe the emergence of a new political movement, the post millennials i believe you called them. >> right. people are struggling for the name for this generation, but we're seeing the arrival of the generation that is emerging after the millennials. america is just, you know, accommodating, adjusting to the massive impact of the millennial generation itself on commerce, on businesses, on politics. and now with the parkland students, you're seeing that the
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generation that comes after them and they are the millennials even more so. they're even more digitally fluent, more diverse. this will be the first generation ever in american history in which whites will be a minority of the generation at some point by the projections -- already 49% kids of color. and they will begin entering the electorate, brace yourself, as soon as 2020. there is not that much polling about them, but what we know is that culturally and in their views of what it means to be in a changing america, they are very far away from donald trump's definition of the republican party. i mean, in the cnn poll, he was looking at a 22% approval among millennials. the limited polling i've seen puts him about that number among the post millennials and between them, these two generations are going to be 45% of all eligible voters in 2024. the future, you know, it always comes at you really fast, and i think that the challenge for the
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republican party is he's defining it culturely on issues from race to guns to gay rights in a way that clangs hard against the emerging consensus in both of these generations. >> the generational issue is facing both parties. and, bakari, i ask you about this, because over the last three days we have seen dianne feinstein not get the endorsement of the california democratic party and we see a young man, conner lamb, running for a congressional seat in western pennsylvania where he's running an ad, literally running an ad basically against the minority leader nancy pelosi. listen to this. >> wants you to believe the bligest issue in this campaign is nancy pelosi. it is a big lie. i don't support nancy pelosi. >> this is pretty remarkable. you have a legitimate generational battle of sorts in your party, correct? >> well, it is a battle. . it is it is a battle we have to continue to fight. i don't care if i get in trouble for saying this, i've been
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saying it since i'm blue in the face, our democratic leadership is old and stale. you look at the de facto leader or leaders of the democratic party from the joe bidens to the bernie sanders, elizabeth warrens, hillary clintons, nancy pelosis, you go all the way down the list, you look at the leadership, the chuck schumers, in both chambers, you see that it is all above the age of 65, all above the age of 70. what the republican party has done a very good job at is uplifting a lot of their younger leaders. the ted cruzes, the marco rubios, the nikki haleys, the tim scotts, even the bobby jindals. when he was running for president. they allowed these young people space to breathe, paul ryan, and assume leadership posts. the democratic party we have a hard time with our leaders holding on to the mantle and then brow beating those people who choose to challenge them. i'm one to believe that nancy pelosi has done an amazing job, but nancy pelosi also needs to put in place a su secession
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program so that king jeff ridz jeffries or the other young people in the democratic party have an opportunity to come in and bring in fresh values. i'm a proud democrat from south carolina, but our leadership is old and stale. >> i'm 33 also. >> you're not 33, john. >> i wish i could say i was in that decade. i think the democrats' concern is much more than just having a bunch of people that are older than the norm, it is -- the problem has been for many years is they haven't been able to connect with the people. i think barack obama was someone that had charisma and people connected with him and he was someone that they could relate to. but they have been putting up candidates that didn't have the right message, more focused on women's issues, which are important, but they're not focusing on how they can create jobs and what they can do to help the economy and those are the kind of kitchen table issues that voters out there are concerned with. and until democrats, whether
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they get someone that is 90 years old or 30 years old, until they grasp the idea they need to have issues on the forefront that of concern to people, they're going to continue to be in this rut they're in. >> hang on one second. i'm going to ask you a poll question, which i know you'll like, it has a twist with news breaking right now. we have a poll out that we released this morning, 60% roughly of americans say they don't think that the president is taking the threat of foreign influence in the election seriously enough. 60% say that. well, mike rogers, who heads up the nsa, has been testifying on capitol hill -- hang on one second. that's a tease there. we'll come back to that second. paul ryan is taking questions now. let's listen. >> we obviously think the senate should take our whole bill. if the senate cannot do that, we'll discuss and cross that bridge when we get to it. yeah.
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patrick called me early that morning, patrick mchenry who represents the district that the graham family lives in. i called mitch mcconnell and we got together and decided this is obviously something we should do. and we turned that decision around. the president called me as well that morning. so between mitch, the president and myself and patrick mchenry, we made that decision very quickly. ellen. [ inaudible question ] >> that's like six questions in one there. okay. let me see if i can get -- first of all, i'm not going to micromanage this. second of all, i'm not exactly sure what pat and joe are doing in their bill, so i can't specifically comment on that. that's a senate bill. but we do know that there are gaps in the background checks
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system that need to be plugged. we passed a bill to do that and we think that should get done clearly. let me just say this, we shouldn't be banning guns for law abiding citizens, we should be focusing on making sure citizens who should not get guns in the first place don't get those guns. that's why we see a big breakdown in the system here. this particular case, there are a lot of breakdowns. from local law enforcement to the fbi getting tips they didn't follow up on to, you know, school resource officers who are trained to protect kids in these schools and who didn't do that. and that, to me, is probably the most stunning one of them all. there is a lot we have to look at. we want to protect people's rights while making sure that people who should not get guns do not get those guns. teachers. look, as we have sheriff rutledge has a bill that we're looking at as well that addresses this issue. he's a sheriff from jacksonville, as you may know. we're looking at the rutledge
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bill. that's a question for local government, local school board, local states, as a parent, myself, a citizen, i think it is a good idea. as speaker of the house, we need to respect federalism and respect local jurisdictions. >> -- on not being able to address some of the concerns -- >> i think it is good they're coming up and engaging in the legislative process. we should encourage, especially with our youth. so this is, again, there are a lot of questions that need answers. and there are a lot of members putting their heads together to figure out where the common ground is, what we want to do is find common ground to make a difference. you want to add to that? >> as people are contemplating new laws, i think the most important thing to look at is what about all the laws that are already on the books that were not enforced, that were not
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properly implemented. i think what angers me the most is when i see breakdowns with law enforcement. the fbi had this guy's name on a silver platter. not just innuendo, and there were a lot of students in that school who said we think he's going to be a school shooter. he himself said he wanted to be a professional scohool shooter and it was posted under his name and turned over to the fbi and somewhere along the way in the fbi's chain of command they let it go. i think we ought to ask those tough questions and hold people accountable. there are good people at the fbi, but clearly there are people at the fbi that chose to let this go and i think we ought to know about this. and then at the end of the day, when you look at local law enforcement, the sheriff has been very outspoken in a lot of ways, but i think what angered me the most is that there was sheriff deputy, trained and armed, at the school, assigned to protect the school, and hid out instead of protecting the students and confronting the
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students. i wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for law enforcement confronting the shooter in in my case. it is disappointing that ultimately somebody didn't go into that school that was there and armed to protect those kids. >> casey? [ inaudible question ] >> there was a colossal breakdown in the system locally. so there was a colossal breakdown. and we need to get to the bottom of this and how these breakdowns occurred from what steve just mentioned, to the armed officer who was in the school at that time, to the fbi who failed to follow up on a glaring tip, that this young man wanted to shoot up a school, so that's pretty profound. then we also know that there are problems in the system with background checks with people slip through the cracks. we already passed a bill to fix that. we want to finish by getting
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final law on that thing. of course we want to listen to these kids, but we also want to make sure that we protect people's due process rights and legal constitutional rights while making sure that people who should not get guns don't get them. this kid was clearly one of those people. [ inaudible question ] >> i realize that, but the question is, enough. i think this speaks to bigger questions of our culture. what are we teaching our kids. look at the violence in our culture. look at what they're getting as far as a culture that is providing them there . there is a bigger questions here than a narrow law. what about law enforcement, what about school resource officers what about the fbi what about background checks, those are all things that we have to get lots of answers to. at the end of the day or beginning of the day, we have to ask ourselves about the kind of culture creating these kinds of people and then do we have the kind of mental health laws that
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we need in the books. again, we passed overhaul of the entire mental health system. the question is, are we making sure that that overhaul is doing what it is supposed to be doing to making sure that people who are like this do not get those kinds of guns. that's where we should focus our problem to be solved, which is the people who shouldn't get guns without trying to take away a citizen's rights. thank you. >> house speaker paul ryan wrapping up, address the press on what the congress, the republican led congress is doing about guns in school safety. and what you heard there was no new legislation coming from the republican side of the house of representatives. he mentioned he on the house side passed this measure to fix the criminal background checks system, give incentives, but tied to a measure to allow people to carry concealed handguns across state lines, permit in one state and you're concealed weapon will be valid in any other state, johned joi
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ron bakari. let's stick to where we are right now. interesting to hear the house speaker dance around what he will do. >> no, look, i think -- i don't think he danced around very much. he sent the signal as clearly as he could to underscore what we already know, which is that there will be no significant gun control measure that will ever move forward in this republican-controlled house. they simply do not believe that it is relevant to the problem. and it reflects a change, an important change since the '90s we talked about before. when the brady bill, creating the background checks system was passed in '93 and assault ban passed in '94, assault weapon ban was spaced in '94, lots of rural democrats voted against it. 77 democrats voted against it and it still passed because dozens, around 50 in each case, suburban -- dozens of suburban republicans, about 50 in each
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case, felt they had to vote with bill clinton to pass those gun control measures. what happened in recent years is that the successor to those republicans in those suburban districts have been voting with leadership and the nra against gun control. for example, almost all of the suburban republicans voted for that nationwide conceal carry bill that you cited. they are now, i think, the ones who are most out on a limb post parkland where you have polling showing a strong demand for gun control among those kind of suburban voters where donald trump is already weak in those kind of districts and i think they're the ones who are left most exposed by the speaker and the leadership's refusal to give any ground. >> ron brownstein, bakari sellers, alice stewart, thank you for your patience and sticking around for the full hour. appreciate it. we have breaking news we'll get to, we'll be right back.
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all right, breaking news. nsa chief mike rogers says he needs the president or the secretary of defense to grant him authority to stop russian cyberthreats where they originate, and he doesn't have that authority as it stands now. cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr with much more on this. words very carefully chosen and very interesting, barbara. >> reporter: absolutely. where they originate. cyberthreats where they originate. we're getting the glimpse this morning, just a glimpse, into some of the most classified cyberintelligence operations that there may be. this is something the pentagon almost never talks about. what you're talking about is where they originate, going and meeting that russian cyberthreat where it begins in russia. meeting the russians in
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cyberspace, offensive warfare in cyberspace. can't say it enough. a fascinating exchange on capitol hill this morning when the head of the national security agency was finally asked what authorities he does have to meet the russians in cyberspace. >> the mission teams, particularly at the origin of the attacks, have the authority to do so. >> if granted the authority. i do end have the day to day to authority to do that. if granted the authority. >> you would need basically to be directed by the president through the secretary of defense -- >> yes, sir. i mentioned that in my statement. >> have you been directed to do so given the strategic threat that faces the united states and the significant consequences you recognize already? >> no, i have not, but if i could flush this out, i'll say something open and classified, i would be happy to go into more detail in a classified. >> if you want more details, you need a security clearance to go behind the closed doors. really fascinating glimpse into
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all of this because it has been a consistent issue for the u.s. military. you can attack them in cyberspace, but the russians are very savvy, of course. we don't see the russian state, the russian government out there conducting these attacks. we have seen evidence, plenty of evidence they work through third parties, through companies, through cutouts of people that are very hard to identify, making it very hard for the u.s. military to go after them. john? >> very interesting. the president has not said to stop the russian meddling at its source. barbara starr, i appreciate it. thanks very much. we have one tidbit of breaking political news to tell you about. senator bob corker, republican from tennessee, the chair of the senate foreign relations committee, is still not running for re-election. he announced some time ago he was not going to run for re-election. but lately has been flirting with the idea of jumping back in the race. he had a somewhat poisonous relationship with the president, that relationship over the last month seems to have gotten better. he thought he might jump back in, but his chief of staff told
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manu raju, man of many stories up on capitol hill, that senator corker has not plans now to get back into the race. plus, more breaking news, major political breaking news, the president just announced who will run his 2020 re-election campaign. who is it? we'll tell you right after the break. at ally, we offer low rates on home loans. but if that's not enough, we offer our price match guarantee too. and if that's not enough... we should move. our home team will help you every step of the way. still not enough? it's smaller than i'd like. we'll help you finance your dream home. it's perfect. oh, was this built on an ancient burial ground? okay... then we'll have her cleanse your house of evil spirits. we'll do anything, (spiritual chatter) seriously anything
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...you can really feel it. now with 30% less carbs and sugars. glucerna. some breaking news here. we just learned who will serve as campaign manager for president trump's re-election bid, brad parscale, the digital director. he remained active in the president's political operation, america first. brad parscale, never worked in politics before joining the trump campaign in 2015. he did web design for some trump properties. new this morning, the head of the data firm, by the way, this is not entirely unrelated, the head of the data firm hired by the trump campaign said he
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never had any direct contacts with wikileaks. that's not what julian assange says. cam britabridge analytica is se from brad parscale. evan has more. >> reporter: it is a bit of a tangled web. here is the long and short of it. cambridge analytica, a british company, one thing they do is they say that they can do some kind of psychological profiling of voters to try to help campaigns better target them and get better results, right. so they were working for the trump campaign, initially working for ted cruz's campaign, and then they started working for the trump campaign. and why this becomes a little bit more controversial is that it emerged in the investigations over the past year or so that alexander nicks, the ceo of the company, testifying in london today, he had september nt an e rebecca mercer, a top donor to donald trump, in which he said
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he reached out to julian assange, the head of wikileaks and said he had reached out to try to figure out whether there was any access to some of the hillary clinton e-mails. in his testimony today, he said he never really had any contact with wikileaks, didn't have any connection, period. but it gets more complicated. because we have been told by sources that he did, indeed, have contact, reached out to julian assange, and julian assange himself has tweeted today that his memory or his recollection is a lot different from what alexander nicks has said. >> interesting. julian assange says he has a different version of the story than alexander nicks. fascinating, a tangled web, hard to understand, we appreciate you laying it out for us. >> broward county sheriff says he received nearly twos done call dozen calls, but cnn has found nearly twice as many. one from a neighbor who talked to us. stay with us. introducing dell cinema. technology with incredible color, sound and streaming.
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this morning, teachers and staff are returning to marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. tomorrow, students will follow. this as we're learning more about missed warning signs, still more missed signs, the sheriff says that his office took 23 calls about the shooter and his family, but cnn, we pulled the records, they show 45 calls since 2008 and one of the calls came from the shooter's former neighbor who says she begged an officer for help. rosa flores spoke to that neighbor. she joins us now. what did you learn? >> reporter: you know, she says that her son walked in her kitchen one day, showing her an instagram post, posted by cruz, with the picture of an ar-15
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style rifle and the caption said something along the lines of i can't wait to turn 18 to purchase this weapon. then shortly thereafter, another post from cruz saying that he wanted to shoot up a school. at this point, this neighbor says she picked up the phone and called 911 and here is what the responding officer told her. >> you begged this officer -- >> i did. >> to please do something. >> i did. i begged him. and he basically told me that it was not an immediate threat. he couldn't do anything is what he told me. i remember him leaving and just thinking, my god, he's going to kill someone and i can do nothing about it. >> reporter: now, john, she says there were many warning signs as cruz was growing up. she says that there was the killing of animals, killing of
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today toads in her yard. she said when she felt she could see his darker side, she says that cruz was standing over her dog, as the dog was foaming at the mouth and convulsing and he had this wild eerie look about him, she said at that point she knew that there was no turning back. >> rosa flores for us in parkland, florida. students go back to class tomorrow. it will be a very difficult morning to be sure. thanks to rosa. happening now, the white house communications director hope hicks is testifying to the house intelligence committee. we just got these pictures in, moments ago, of her arrival. will she answer all the questions? that is the big issue at hand. stay with us. we'll find out. 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.
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and i couldn't ask for a better partner. good morning. i'm erica hill in for kate bolduan. right now, the house intelligence committee is questioning another member of president trump's inner circle. questioning as part of the russia investigation. white house communications director hope hicks testifying before the panel, behind closed doors. she arrived a short time ago. do lawmakers have any hope of getting ansers from hicks? her scheduled appearance last month was postponed over questions about the scope of her testimony. and other top trump officials who have faced the committee have refused to answer certain questions. cnn's manu raju is on capitol hill. what are you hearing? >> well, the expectation going into this hearing from both republicans and democrats alike that they

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