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Rob Porter And David Sorensen Both Resigned Last Week Amid Accusations Of Attacking Their Ex-Wives; President Donald Trump Has Now Blocked The Democratic Rebuttal Memo To The Gop Memo That Claims Federal Law Enforcement Abuse By Surveillance, Helicopter With A Pilot And Six Passengers Crashed, Killing Three People. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 11, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:14] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me this Sunday on a rainy New York. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
Today the White House is out in force responding with a unified message to domestic abuse allegations against two administration officials and defending President Trump's tweet and chief of staff John Kelly's handling of the situation.
Rob Porter and David Sorensen both resigned last week amid accusations of attacking their ex-wives. President Trump's comment and his tweet yesterday that people's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation seemingly put the President at odd with the greater Me Too movement.
Today on "STATE OF THE UNION" chief adviser Kellyanne Conway had this to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I was horrified but I was also very shocked. As many people have noted, Jake, this is not the Rob Porter we worked with in the White House. People should look at the result as how this was handled. What is the result? And the result is that one week ago Rob Porter was a top aide to President Trump and today he is out of the White House.
MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS: I think there was probably a lack of communication of different elements in the White House. But the FBI runs this clearance process. And when they provide somebody an interim clearance, that means that they have done an initial vet and say this person is OK. I don't know, to be honest. I don't know who knew what when at this point.
CONWAY: I said to the President last night and told him I would be with you today. And he said, please tell Jake that I have full faith in chief of staff John Kelly. And that I'm not actively searching for replacing. He said I saw that all over the news today. I have faith in him.
MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: -- or replacing General Kelly are mostly being fed by people that are unhappy that they have lost access to the President under General Kelly's leadership as chief of staff. So no, I'm extraordinarily pleased with the job the chief has been doing. Everybody in the west wing is. The President is as well. I think that the talk about the chief's departure is much ado about nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All Right. CNN's Ryan Nobles is at the White House.
So Ryan, what are you hearing from the White House?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can see there, Fred, a lot of this morning was spent by aides to the President essentially attempting to clarify or in some cases try and clear up exactly what happened in the wake of these revelations of domestic violence accusations against a couple key White House aides.
And as you very artfully showed there, Fred, they spread to the Sunday morning talk shows armed with focal points attempting to show that the White House has responded to this in a speedy manner, that it was not out of the ordinary, that when revelations like this are brought up, they are handled with and dealt quickly.
But what was interesting was Kellyanne Conway's interview with our own Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION," because even though Kellyanne Conway did provide and did agree with the President that in some cases due process is necessary when it comes to dealing with someone who has been accused of something like this. She went a bit further than the President himself was willing to do as it relates to Rob Porter and those that accused him of domestic violence. Take a listen to what Kellyanne Conway had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: I have seen that when the President is saying, talking about due process, he is right in this way. We are a country of laws. There is due process. That's absolutely correct. But we as individuals have a duty to assess everybody on a case-by-case basis. And in this case you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the FBI under threat of perjury. You have police reports, you have photographs. And when you look at all of that pulled together, you realize that Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: It sounds like you believe the women.
CONWAY: I have no reason not to believe the women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: Now, that's something the President of the United States has not said. And the other thing that we have yet to nail down is exactly when the White House became aware of all this evidence that Kellyanne Conway was talking about this morning, that FBI report, the contemporaneous police reports, that photo of the black eye of one of Rob Porter's ex-wives. The White House continues to contend they didn't know about it until the media reports surfaced. And that is one of the big questions right now swirling around this current controversy - Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Ryan Nobles at the White House. Thank you so much for that.
All right. Let's get the Democratic perspective now. Joining me right now is congressman Adam Smith from Washington state. He is also the ranking member on the armed services committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with me. Good to see you.
REP. ADAM SMITH (D), WASHINGTON: Thanks for the chance.
WHITFIELD: All right. So thus far, 12 Democratic senators have sent a letter demanding a timeline of what the White House knew and what knew what when. What do you want to know about this timeline?
SMITH: I think there are two troubling aspects of this. One is, yes, we do need to know when they knew what the situation with Mr. Porter. And you know, Kellyanne Conway actually described it quite well. Given that mountain of evidence, the second they had that mountain of evidence, he should have been gone. So when did they have it and did they pursue it?
Now my understanding is that the chief of staff John Kelly knew of this a while back, but he says he didn't know the totality of it. But I would think that the second you had an inkling of this, you would inquire about the totality of it.
So one, the timing does matter. But second, far, far more troubling is that President Trump had said about it. If he had said what Kellyanne Conway said on your show this morning, that would have been much more appropriate. Instead, he basically made it sound like Porter, you know, it wasn't his fault. You know, just a mere allegation, gets thrown out, and that is just the wrong attitude to take towards domestic violence and abuse, you know, period.
But given what has been going on with the Me Too movement and everything else in the last six months, it is beyond tone deaf for the President to react the way he did.
[14:05:48] WHITFIELD: Can you have it both ways, that Kellyanne Conway would say she believes the women. The President hasn't acknowledged the women's version of events? Two very differing messages coming from two people working in the White House, but of course it's the President of the United States who is leading the White House.
SMITH: Yes. And you made the point. It's not two people working in the White House. It's one person working in the White House and one person who is actually in-charge. And what the President says matters more than anything that any f the people who work for him says. And as a whole, as this happens far too often in cases like this, the President is saying the wrong thing. I think it's very inappropriate that he is, you know, essentially defending Porter and said nothing about the victims.
And look, the President is supposed to be, at least in part, a moral leader for our country. People look up to him. His voice matters. And what President Trump said on this subject is, I think, harmful to the overall effort to stop this type of abuse in the workplace and elsewhere.
WHITFIELD: And congressman, as a staff secretary, Rob Porter was responsible for managing much of the information that ended up on the President's desk, some of it top secret information, and yet he did not have full security clearance, just interim security clearance. There may be 30 to 40 others in the White House reportedly who have not received full clearance yet. So how worried or concerned are you about that?
SMITH: I think it's a big problem. And as you mentioned, Porter is far from the only one who is in this situation. And the reason this is a concern is why don't they have security clearance, and are they, therefore, open to influence? And a lot of it, certainly I suspect in the case of Jared Kushner, is because of his business ties overseas with Russia, with China, with other countries, with sovereign states that would very much be interested in influencing the U.S. or gathering information.
So if they don't have full clearance at this point, you do have to become worried about whether or not they are compromised by foreign powers, and frankly, they really shouldn't be there.
WHITFIELD: How long is too long? Because other administrations, people have worked in other administrations will say often, there is some lag time between the application for clearance and actually receiving it.
SMITH: It's been over a year. I mean, yes, there's been lag time. Look. In my own case, my -- as ranking member of the armed services, I have staff members on the armed services committee and I have - I used to have a military legislative liaison who had to go through it. And it took a while. It took I think like four to six months for one of my MLAs to get clearance, so I understand that. But it's been over a year for a lot of these people, and I think at some point it does become trouble.
WHITFIELD: All right. Let me ask you about the memo of memos now. The President, you know, has now blocked, you know, the Democratic rebuttal memo to the GOP memo that claims federal law enforcement abuse by surveillance. Today, House intel chair, Devin Nunes told FOX that if the Democrats were serious about getting the memo out, they would be working on redacting sensitive information yesterday, and, in his words, "getting it over to the White House," end quote. So we don't know if what he says is true. That you know, Democrats are not working on redacting, et cetera. So will the Dems' memo, in your view, ever get released?
SMITH: I don't know. But the most important thing about this is the memo that representative Nunes released in the first place, frankly, is one of the most shocking and shameful actions that a member of Congress has taken in the 21 years that I have been here. He put that memo out there intentionally to try to mislead people about what was going on in the investigation, in an effort to protect President Trump and to basically blow holes in the Russia investigation. That memo didn't say anything of what the Republicans have claimed it said. And you have President Trump saying this totally vindicates me.
It doesn't vindicate him at all. It focus on one incredibly narrow issue and that is how they got a FISA warrant for Carter Page. And look, there is evidence of Carter Page having improper connections with Russian leaders going back to 2013. But Nunes wanted to say this is all about the dossier. That's all it was. And it's not. And so the trap that he has laid for Democrats is, we want to say no, here is what it was. Here's what FISA presented. It didn't have hardly anything to do with the dossier and this arrow that it's classified.
Well, most of it is out in the public sphere at this point. So there is no harm to come from declassifying it. But of course, President Trump's objective here is not the truth. His objective is, as he said all along, to just make this Russia thing go away. And this Russia thing is really serious and really important and shouldn't just go away.
[14:10:26] WHITFIELD: All right. So let me shift gears a little bit. Let's talk about the budget agreement that avoided a government shutdown for more than a matter of hours. You voted against that deal. Why?
SMITH: Look, you know, we are $21 going on $22 trillion in debt. We had a $700 billion deficit, roughly, last year. We are on pace to have a trillion-dollar deficit this year. And we just cut taxes by $2 trillion. And what I said at the time, as ranking member on the armed services committee, I am very much aware of the needs that our national security faces. There are also domestic needs as well. But when you cut taxes by $2 trillion in the face of that kind of debt and deficit, you are making a public policy decision that there's things you don't want to spend money on.
Now, instead of that, we decided we are just going to run the credit card through the ceiling and beyond and hope, I guess, that at some point in the future money will magically appear. But this is going to be fine for a year or two. I mean, a $2 trillion tax cut is great for the people who get it, increasing spending by $500 billion is, again, great for a whole bunch of different industries. But what about two years from now? What about five years from now, ten years from now?
Also the other point, there was a great article in the "Washington Post" about this. If interest rates go up, and they will, eventually inflation will happen and interest rates will go up, then what do you do? What if we can't borrow money for next to nothing? What if all of a sudden we are servicing this debt at three, four, five percent? Then we are in a huge economic calamity.
Look. I am in favor of most of the spending -- not all, but most of the spending that was in that bill. I just think we ought to pay for it. I just think we ought to raise the taxes and raise the revenue to cover the cost. Instead, what President Trump, I mean, this is the most fiscally irresponsible administration that I can remember, and that's saying something. Because we have been in debt and running deficits for quite some time.
WHITFIELD: All right, we will leave it right there.
Congressman Adam Smith, good to see you. Thanks so much.
SMITH: Thanks. Appreciate the chance.
WHITFIELD: We are also following this breaking news. Investigators are now looking into a sight-seeing trip at the grand canyon that ended in tragedy. A helicopter with a pilot and six passengers crashed, killing three people. Efforts to reach the survivors prove to be very challenging.
CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me right now with more on this.
So what do we know about this crash?
POLO SANDOVAL: Well, Fred, first it is important to point out this areal site scene is certainly is growing in popularity, particularly there in the Las Vegas area, one of the preferred ways for people to see the grand canyon. And that's how this started yesterday, as a sight-seeing excursion in the Las Vegas area. This helicopter took off circling over the grand canyon with just after 5:00 p.m. local time, about 7:00 eastern. This Euro captor C130 plummeted towards the ground, crashing as you see there near quarter master canyon which is the actual grand canyon itself.
I want you to hear description from Teddy Fujimoto, a witness who captured some of these powerful pictures of this smoke billowing in the air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDDY FUJIMOTO, WITNESS (on the phone): I saw these two ladies run out of it, and then an explosion. One of the survivors was all bloody, and her clothes probably were burnt off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: And incredible there were survivors even when you see these pictures. And you can see how rural this area is there in the Grand Canyon. That's why these survivors had to wait for hours through the night, a windy conditions for aerial help. We do understand there were first responders that arrived soon after the crash that took airlifts these victims, Fred. It was certainly a very difficult task. They had to wait for that wind to subside before they actually reached them.
In the hours ahead, we do expect (INAUDIBLE). There were seven people on board. There were three of them that died. We still don't know who is among the survivors, so that will be a crucial question that we hope to get answered.
And then second of all, a preliminary cause here. The national transportation safety board as they always investigate these cases, will be looking into the man, the machine and the environment. The man, of course, being the pilot. The machine, this Euro captor that is perfectly capable of transporting about eight people according to the manufacturer. And then lastly, of course, the environment. It was extremely windy overnight, so the question, did weather play a role in this terrible accident - Fred.
WHITFIELD: So complicated.
All right. Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval. Appreciate it.
All right. Still ahead, a growing demand for a timeline of what the White House knew about Rob Porter and when and what it means for the future of chief of staff John Kelly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: I think all the stories about replacing general Kelly are mostly being fed by people who are unhappy that they have lost access to the President under general Kelly's leadership as chief of staff.
[14:015:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My friendly advice to him is less press.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:19:16] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back.
The west wing under fire, and more specifically, chief of staff John Kelly. But despite this week's domestic abuse scandals, counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, is reaffirming the President's confidence in his chief of staff on "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: I spoke to the President last night. I told him I would be with you today. And he said, please tell Jake that I have full faith in chief of staff John Kelly and that I'm not actively searching for replacements. He said, I saw that all over the news today. I have faith in him. And he does.
You know, we all serve for the pleasure of the President. And it is a privilege and a blessing and nothing short of it to be there every single day to serve the country we all love. And anybody who doesn't feel that way really shouldn't be there. I will just say this.
But he says general Kelly is doing a great job and that he has full faith in him, and I think he looks at the full measure of all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:20:10] WHITFIELD: All right, all of this as we Are learning new details about who knew about the allegations that White House staff secretary Rob Porter beat his wife and when.
This morning, Axios reports that Porter was encouraged to stay and fight and claims he quote "never misrepresented anything," that was his quote to the chief of staff.
Just last week Kelly defended him, though reports reveal that Kelly learned about the abuse allegations from two of Porter's ex-wives back in November.
All right. Here to discuss, CNN Presidential historian Tim Naftali, CNN political analyst and professor at Princeton University Julian Zelizer and CNN political analyst and "New York Times" deputy culture editor, Patrick Healy.
Good to see you, gentlemen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good to be here.
WHITFIELD: All right. So Tim, you first. So does the White House have a real credibility problem on top of this Axios reporting that Porter said he was encouraged to stay and fight?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think this White House has had a credibility problem for some time. It just deepens it. But, you know, it always stood to reason that the chief of staff knew about the problems found by the FBI. That would have been his job. I think the issue right now is whether this chief of staff can credibly contain Donald Trump the way that most people in the United States would like him to do.
WHITFIELD: People thought that's what his job would mean. But then isn't it the President who really sets t tone, so is it really possible that the chief of staff would be the one to contain anything?
NAFTALI: Well, let me just make this point, which is that he did not serve -- the chief of staff did not serve the office of the President very well in the way that he managed the Porter matter. Because Americans have been moved by the Me Too movement. Americans are more in touch with the issues raised by that movement. And the presidency of the United States should be aware of them.
The issue for all of us is, you know, serving President Trump, Mr. Trump, and serving the presidency is not always the same thing. And it's not clear anymore whether the chief of staff is capable of serving the office of the presidency very well, regardless of whether he serves the man who happens to occupy it at the moment.
WHITFIELD: And then Julian, as it pertains to the President, we have seen the President, we have heard the President before defend the accused. Roy Moore is one of the latest examples. And then when the President tweeted out yesterday that people's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation and we are talking about, as Tim was saying as this growing me too movement is underway, does this send the signal that the President is not in touch with the Me Too movement, the purpose behind it, the building momentum, or does this represent something else in his point of view? JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we can think that maybe
he is out of touch with it or the other way to look at it is he is not supportive of it. And he is used this Porter scandal not just to defend his staff. But in that tweet, he is actually gone on in some ways to attack the movement. And I think he is the voice of a white male backlash that we have seen consistently from the campaign through today, and that's the response that we are hearing so far. So I don't anticipate him changing. I think he is being very transparent about where he is on these matters.
WHITFIELD: And then Patrick, you know, it's not just the role of the chief of staff that's under scrutiny but the communications director, Hope Hicks, as well, given her, you know, romantic involvement with Porter and then also being involved in the crafting of this document. Is this a precursor to some real staff changes that are about to happen?
PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, the White House is very invested in the idea that, you know, they have this under control. That President Trump wants to move forward. He wants to look at infrastructure policy this coming week. But does anybody believe we are really going to be talking about infrastructure now?
I mean, shakeup is very possible. And the reality is that the picture that is emerging is that John Kelly, perhaps Donald McGahn as well, the White House counsel, was aware, at least, of some of these allegations against Rob Porter for months or at least certainly that he wasn't going to be able to get an FBI security clearance. Does it become tenable for the White House chief of staff to basically have known about -- that there were credible allegations against this man in terms of his treatment of women and yet was still letting him handle classified documents and being in a position with the President?
Look, this is a President who very much wants to kind of circle the wagons. That's what he has always done. He put out that statement yesterday that just, again, seemed to be like Julian said, sort of attacking the Me Too movement because it comes very close to him.
So many figures in this country have said, this is a period where we need to listen to what women are saying, to think about what women are saying, to take seriously these allegations. Not once in all of these months has Donald Trump said, you know, myself, my staff, we are going to sort of take a pause and treat these women seriously and talk about what's happening to them. Instead, they seem to either know about some of these allegations or just hunker down.
[14:25:24] WHITFIELD: So it almost says -- what you are saying is there is a cultural problem, Julian, within the White House.
ZELIZER: There is a cultural division and the White House is on one side of it. At least the President of the United States, and clearly many of his supporters. We have had this conversation so many times about a set of issues, whether it's immigration, whether it's the Me Too movement --
ZELIZER: -- whether it's on race. I think there is a consistency that we have to acknowledge. And I don't know if the President really feels the pressure to do much. He, right now, is feeling good. His approval ratings are up. He has a corporate tax cut, a budget deal, and he is on the verge of an immigration deal. And so, I don't know how much of a shaking up he will do. He might get rid of one person, but I think this is the President and this is his agenda.
WHITFIELD: You know, some are questioning the reasoning behind, you know, stories about Kelly's possible departure. He has said to the White House, I'm willing to leave, but apparently -- and that's reportedly the White House saying no, stay. Take a look at what was said earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: I think all the stories about replacing general Kelly are mostly being fed by people that are unhappy they have lost access to the President under general Kelly's leadership as chief of staff. So no, I'm extraordinarily pleased with the job the chief is doing. Everybody in the west wing is. The President is as well. I think to talk about the chief's departure is much ado about nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you talked with general Kelly about his stance on the issue?
MULVANEY: Absolutely, not. And again, that is because I don't think it is an issue. Keep in mind, working in the west wing and reading about it in the newspaper and watching on television could not be more different. The place is very is stable, very quiet, so all of the media hype about all the disarray is just that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So Tim, do you believe that? I mean, that they are not really having those kinds of discussions? At least in the case of Mulvaney, he says, look. You know, I already have two jobs, you know. So no one has talked to me about another job there, replace for chief of staff. There have to be some sort of conversations now, wouldn't you think, about managing or stopping the bleeding?
NAFTALI: First of all, Fred, I don't believe that there's stability there. And the evidence of that is the fact that you have a state of the union address that, regardless of whether you are on the right or the left, it was sort of a normal - somewhat normal state of the union address, but not followed by a consistent White House communications strategy where they would have focused on infrastructure, as Patrick mentioned.
Here's the thing. If this were a normal presidency, I would say chief of staff Kelly is on his way out. In a normal presidency, he has damaged the credibility of the White House and the office of the presidency. It's not a normal White House. There are many people who would like him to stay because he is effectively blocking the President in ways -- in some cases that we don't know about. I would like to know where he stands on North Korea. Is he one of those pushing for the bloody nose strategy, or is he one of those trying to rein in a President who really doesn't understand the international system and is upset with North Korea because apparently his button is bigger than the other button.
If he is one of those standing against war, then it may be in the interests of the United States for all of his flaws that this man stay. I don't know enough to know that. But I do know that in a normal presidency, Mr. Kelly or general Kelly would be on his way out. He would have to leave.
HEALY: On Friday night, you know, I think a lot of people were sort of expecting, OK, this is the way Friday night is going to end. He would be out the door in a normal presidency.
WHITFIELD: Surprise, surprise.
ZELIZER: I mean, he will only be out the door if he has not seen as being valuable to the President. The President doesn't mind this chaos. He doesn't mind the tumult. We have it all the time. And I think he actually doesn't not mind it. He enjoys it. This is part of what defines his oval office. So does infighting that in most presidencies, as everyone say, OK, time to create calm. He wants more of it. And so I think this is what we are going to have through 2020, at least.
WHITFIELD: All right. He still gets to say he is directing a lot of the conversations, right?
WHITFIELD: All right. Gentlemen, god to see you. Tim Naftali, Julian Zelizer and Patrick Healy. Appreciate it.
All right. Still ahead, more than 70 people are killed as a Russian airliner crashes near Moscow. Recovery efforts are now underway. We will have a live report from the crash site, next.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Recovery efforts are under way this hour at the site of a plane crash near Moscow, and we're learning there are no survivors. The passenger jet disappeared from radar shortly after taking off for Moscow's airport headed for Southern Russia.
There were 65 passengers and six crew members on board. A flight recorder was found in the area where the plane went down. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent out condolences to the families of the victims and promises for investigation.
Senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen is at the crash site. So, Fred, even though, it is very early in the investigation, are there any indications of why this plane went down? FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's what investigators are trying to figure out, and they can tell by being here they're trying to move in lots of heavy equipment to make that happen.
One of the things that are hampering the rescue efforts is the fact that there is just so much snow on the ground here and that's also one of the things that the investigations are looking into as well, is whether or not the weather might have a factor in this plane coming down.
[14:35:10] There were some pretty snowstorms over Moscow over the past couple of days, but specifically early this afternoon, local time, and this plane took off at around 2:21 p.m. local time. It apparently was in the air only a couple minutes.
It took off from one of the main airports here in Moscow and then made a left turn toward the southeast of Russia where it was going to go, and then came down exactly where I am right now. The weather is one of the things the authorities are looking at.
But then also mechanical failure, they say, is one of the things, and pilot error as well. One of the things we haven't heard so far is them mentioning perhaps terrorism might have been involved. It certainly seems as though that's not at this point one of the things they're looking at.
But as you say, the investigation really is in its early stages, but they certainly are going full force on that investigation, and they will be throughout the entire night -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much.
All right. Still ahead, tragedy in Ohio as two veteran police officers are gunned down responding to a 911 call that ended up in a hang-up. Now authorities have identified the suspect.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Police in Ohio have just identified the suspect in the deaths of two of its officers as Quinton Lamar Smith. That's the suspect. Authorities say Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were responding to a 911 call in the city of Westerville out of Columbus when they were immediately shot as they entered an apartment.
The police chief had trouble holding back tears as he talked about losing the two officers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JOE MORBITZER, WESTERVILLE POLICE: Both officers gave their life in protection of others. Those are true American heroes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Kaylee Hartung joining us live now with more on this. So, how did this all happen?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, it all began with a 911 call yesterday. A woman could be heard crying on the phone, and then the line disconnected. So, officers responded to a potentially domestic situation.
We have obtained 911 dispatch calls, which tells us that they quickly determined that phone call came from a cell phone with the ownership name of Candice Smith. She has now been identified as the wife of the suspect you mentioned in this shooting, Quinton Smith.
Once police arrived on the scene, gunfire was exchanged nearly immediately, and Smith's wife, Candice, then called 911 again. She described to the dispatcher how she was hiding in the bushes and that her husband had just shot police.
Eric Joering, a 17-year veteran of the police force, he died at the scene, and Anthony Morelli died at a Columbus hospital later in the day. He was a 30-year veteran of the police force. These men are being called heroes. Listen to more of the emotion from the Westerville police chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORBITZER: These were two of the best we have. This was their calling, and they did it right. They knew how to do policing the right way, both of them. As I said, both gave their life in protection of others and that's what they lived and breathed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARTUNG: Arrangements for funerals for both police officers are pending. A "Gofundme" page has already raised more than $150,000 for the families of these two men in less than 24 hours.
Incident reports that the Westerville Police Department have released to us shed some light on the suspect, Quinton Smith here, and the tumultuous and troubled relationship that he had with his wife, Candice.
This was not the first time that police responded to a troubled call from that home with a concern of domestic violence. In fact, we learned from these incident reports that just last November, Candice went to the Westerville Police Department and inquired about getting a protection order against her husband.
She said any time she threatened to leave him, he threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself. She also told police he always kept a gun nearby.
WHITFIELD: All right, very troubling report. Kaylee Hartung, thank you so much. All right, coming up, a 17-year-old snowboarder wins the first gold medal for Team USA. His come-from-behind Olympic victory that really shocked the world. That's next.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. A teenage slope-style snowboarder, Red Gerard, has pulled off a shock win to bring home Team USA's first gold medal in the Winter Olympic games. Despite crashing in two earlier runs, the 17-year-old pulled off a spectacular final effort that no one could match, making him the youngest American male to win an Olympic gold medal since 1928.
CNN's Coy Wire is following all of the excitement.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: My favorite moment so far at the Winter games here in Pyeongchang, the 17-year-old freckle-faced kid, Red Gerard, who looks like he's about 11. He was second to last entering his final run, Red let loose, dazzled the judges, took the gold.
I was there with about 20 of his friends and family members who traveled halfway around the world to be there with him. They absolutely erupted. They all started chanting his name around me. There were tears. There was a lot of disbelief in the eyes of his family.
I even heard Red say, what just happened? He hugged his mom, Jen, his dad, Conrad. Even his little sister, Asher was there. She ran over to him, gave him a hug. He picked her up, looked into her eyes and said, I love you, Ash.
Red admitted to me that ahead of his first games he didn't know how big the Olympics were. His generation was into the x-games, but now he tells me he understands. This journey that started him snowboarding at just 2 years old was all about the love of the sport and the love of the people he loves most.
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[14:50:04] RED GERARD, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I kind of know they're all going to be there for me, and they were just happy to be here. They were having a great time, as you guys probably all saw. Excuse me, but I got a Snapchat about 8:30 this morning when I was taking a bus and they were all shot-gunning beers on the way up the mountain, so I would say they've been having a good time, yes.
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WIRE: And I think it's safe to say that Red's family may still be celebrating, but they perhaps should save some for later. He also qualified for snowboarding big air competition, so he still has one more shot at another medal here at the games in Pyeongchang.
WHITFIELD: All right, thanks, Coy, where it might be equally exciting. It was a lot of fun to watch on the television from here.
Still so much more in the NEWSROOM, but first the CDC says the deadly flu season is only getting worse. There have been more than 151,000 cases and 48 states and Puerto Rico are still reporting widespread activity. In today's "Heartbeat," Elizabeth Cohen says getting that flu shot could do more than just ward off the virus.
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ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The flu vaccine isn't just a weapon against sniffles and a fever, it could also lower the chance of having a heart attack for people at high risk.
DR. LAURENCE SPERLING, DIRECTOR, EMORY HEART DISEASE PREVENTION CENTER: When somebody comes into the hospital with a heart attack, it's not uncommon that this individual has had some type of a viral illness or a process in the recent past.
COHEN: In one study of people 35 and older, heart attack risks jumped six times within a week of coming down with the flu. In patients with cardiovascular disease, the vaccine may be as effective against heart attacks in the short term as quitting smoking or taking medications for high blood pressure.
SPERLING: Every single one of our patients who has heart disease, part of our process is to discuss a flu vaccine. Not just to prevent the flu, but as a means of preventing a heart problem.
COHEN: And another benefit? If you don't get the flu, you won't give it to anyone else. Elizabeth Cohen, CNN reporting.
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WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. Tonight, the new CNN original series, "The Radical Story of Patty Hearst" sheds new light on the bizarre kidnapping of the American heiress. Here's a sneak peek.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To understand the SLA, you have to understand Berkeley in 1973
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was anger and an incredible amount of violence that we can hardly imagine today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was as close to a revolutionary situation in some people's minds as we ever had.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of these groups got even more radical because they believed that there should be a revolution.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They shot Marcus Foster dead at point blank range.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were proud of what they had done, and they put out a press release or a statement saying they had done this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My reaction was, who the hell are these guys? We better find out who they are and what they're about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had been acquiring intelligence on potential local targets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One idea that Bill and the others start to discuss is instead of killing people, why don't we kidnap someone?
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WHITFIELD: All right, you can catch "The Radical Story of Patty Hearst" tonight 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
All right. Reality tv propelled Donald Trump to superstardom. It did the same for a former White House staffer who has returned to her roots of reality tv, whispering about the president. That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonian."
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JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): She brought even more reality tv to the White House. But now Omarosa Manigault Newman is bringing her memories of the White House back to reality tv.
FEMALE CARTOON CHARACTER: I was haunted by his tweets. I was like, what is he going to tweet next?
TAPPER: Omarosa is appearing on this season's "Celebrity Big Brother."
FEMALE CARTOON CHARACTER: All the people around him attacked me. Was like, keep her away.
TAPPER: With the reality star sitting in the oval office, the whole White House is almost like a reality tv show line-up.
MALE CARTOON CHARACTER: I'm a ratings person.
TAPPER: This week on "The Bachelor White House Edition," Communications Director Hope Hicks seems to have given the wrong guy a rose.
Former Trump campaign aide turned FBI informant, George Papadopoulos would be a perfect fit on "The Mole." Meanwhile on "Keeping up with the Kushners," forgotten fling music legend, Quincy Jones this week claims he once dated the power daughter, Ivanka.
Of course, this is all like an episode of "Survivor." This week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is hanging on by a thread. Who will stay and who will go? Stay tuned.
MALE CARTOON CHARACTER: You're fired!
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WHITFIELD: We've got so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM, and it all starts right now.
Hello again and thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Just in to CNN, a powerful response now to President Trump from the wife of former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, saying the president will not diminish her truth.