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Thoughts, Prayers And Political Actions. Aired 11-Midnight ET

Aired February 15, 2018 - 23:00   ET



[23:01:20] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is CNN tonight. I'm Don Lemon. A little past 11:00 here on the east coast. Live with new developments tonight. A 19-year-old ex-student has confessed to the Florida high school shooting rampage. Nikolas Cruz is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Amid more questions about mental health and possible warning signs he left on social media. That as President Trump addressed the nation a day after the deadly rampage. You know, the President said something today that hit me. You might have missed it in the remarks. The remarks where he didn't mention the word gun once and said he wanted quota plan that works. What a great idea. What is the plan? Anyway, what he said was this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so always, but especially today, let us hold our loved ones close. Let us pray for healing and for peace. And let us come together as one nation to wipe away the tears and strive for a much better tomorrow.


LEMON: I want everyone in this country to hold their loved ones close. And tonight on this show our job is to hold our President and lawmakers accountable. Because that is really where the difference is going to be made. Let's start with the President. He has done nothing in his presidency to stop gun violence. He talks about mental health as he did today.


TRUMP: We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.


LEMON: That would be much more known convincing if his budget and policies didn't cut funding for substance abuse and mental health services by over a billion dollars. Why does he talk about mental health and not guns? Could it be because the NRA spent some $30 million to get Trump elected? More than anyone in history. This they unflinchingly sported him last April he returned the favor.


TRUMP: I will never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Never be ever.


LEMON: So Trump has signed one gun measure since taking office. It cancelled President Obama's plan to have potential gun buyers to provide social security numbers for a background check. It was intended to block mentally ill people from buying guns. So the one thing the President who talks about mental health has done is potentially make it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns. After the Las Vegas massacre, he said this.


TRUMP: We'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.


LEMON: Time and lives keep going by. Vice President Pence offered this tweet. Our hearts break for all the victims and families affected by today's the terrible school shooting in Broward County, Florida. The students, teachers, administrators and families all remain in our prayers. The NRA endorsed his V.P. bid and called him a freedom fighter, saying pro-gun candidates don't come any better than Mike Pence. They praised him for repeatedly voting to pass legislation to protect firearm manufacturers and dealers from being held liable for the criminal actions of third parties. While serving in congress Pence had an A rating and collected nearly $33,000 from the gun lobby. As Indiana's governor, Pence gave gun manufacturers greater immunity from liability. House speaker Paul Ryan doesn't think this is a good time to talk about politics either. He said this today on a radio interview.


[23:05:03] PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: Just a horrific, horrific, horrible, horrible shooting. I mean, I think we need to pray and then our hearts go out to these victims. And you know, I think what as public policy makers we don't just knee jerk before we have all the facts and the data.


LEMON: Here are some more facts. Paul Ryan has of A rating from the NRA. As speaker he has refuse to allow votes on banning assault style weapons. Here is some data. He collect add whopping $342,564 in gun lobby contributions. With $172,000 of that coming just in 2016. Jeff Sessions ways a long serving Senator from Alabama before he became Attorney General under President Trump. But Florida was once his home.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: As a native Floridian, I know this is a painful day to you, a tragedy we have seen there, really all Americans feel the loss that we have seen in that school and the young people we lost. It's certainly a tragic event. And we're going to work on it in many ways to do something about it.


LEMON: When presented with an option to do something about it, as Senator, Jeff Sessions passed. Keeping his A rating by the NRA must explain why he voted against background checks and assault rifle ban and to ban high capacity magazines. He collected $22,800 in NRA money for his various elections to the senate. The shooting happened in the home state of Senator Marco Rubio who says laws will not stop horrible attacks.


MARCO RUBIO, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Someone decided I'm going to commit this crime, they'll find a way to get the gun to do it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a law that makes it harder. It just means understand to be honest it isn't going to stop this from happening. You can still pass the law per se, but you're still going to have the horrible attacks.


LEMON: Senator Rubio as NRA rate something a b plus. But the NRA spent an eye popping ready for this, $3.2 million to support him in his last three elections. When he was running for President, Senator Rubio said that new gun laws were ineffective and infringe on the rights of law-abiding people. Senator Rubio, are you ok with not even trying? Another Senator Democrats Bill Nelson had this to say in the murderous aftermath.


SEN BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: At some point we as a society have got to come together and put a stop to this. This Senator grew up on a ranch. I have hunted all my life. I have had guns all my life. I still hunt with my son. But an ar-15 is not for hunting. It's for killing.


LEMON: Senator Nelson has a flat out F rating from the NRA. He has taken in over $11,000 from the gun control lobby. He voted in favor of background checks. And assault rifle ban and to ban high capacity magazines. Principals the vast majority of Americans agree with. Florida's Attorney General Pam Bondi, spoke at a press conference yesterday.


PAM BONDI, (R) ATTORNEY GENERAL OF FLORIDA: We will pay for the funeral expenses of these poor victims and do everything we can to help their families.


LEMON: So everything we can. In 2013 the Attorney General Pam Bondi back the NRA bid to overturned a law prohibiting 18 to 20 year olds from buying handguns and handgun ammunitions from licensed firearm dealers. Statistics in Pam Bondi states showed that is precisely the most frequent age for a murder arrest. Add to that, a fourth of gun homicides in Florida are committed by people between 18 and 20. The NRA gives her a rating and gave the -- the NRA gave her $75,000 to support her election. They also called Bondi a true second amendment supporter say she has been a friend of our organizations. After the Orlando Pulse massacre, this is at least the second mass for her. Today Florida Governor Rick Scott seemed to express more willingness to change what's not working.


RICK SCOTT, ORLANDO, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We love our children. I'm going to do whatever I can do to keep the kid safe. I'm going to talk about every issue to keep the kid safe.


LEMON: So let's hope that is true. Let's hold him to that. As it stands in Florida now no permit is required to purchase a handgun or firearm.

[23:10:05] The governor another a plus winner for the NRA laws drafted by the state legislators and not Congressman and senators signed by the governor. So Rick Scott has the final say of what can or won't change. Facts first. When you hear these lawmakers speak think about the money behind the statements. The numbers we have used come from the center for responsive politics, a non-profit, non-partisan group that logs campaign donations. So you can see where your elected officials are getting their contributions. If you agree with them and what they've done or not done, well this is America. And if you don't, well this is America. And you can vote. But here is my question. And I want everyone to really think about this. Why are we allowing politicians beholden to lobbyists to get in the way of what the majority of Americans want? 68 percent of Americans want a ban on assault style weapons according to a recent pew poll. According to Quinnipiac 95 percent of Americans want universal background checks. We talk about Americans and guns being sacred. But most of the population doesn't even own a gun. Pew found that only 37 percent of households report someone owning a gun. A study by Harvard and northeastern university's found 3 percent of Americans own half of all guns in this country. 3 percent of Americans own half of all guns in this country. That is 7.7 million people who own an average of 17 guns each. So a majority of the population actually own guns and a smaller -- a smaller percentage of them own half of that. Actually don't own guns I should say. And that is who is deciding the fate of people like the ones who lost their lives just yesterday at a Florida high school. Now you tell me if that makes any sense at all. Let's discuss now, Rich Lowry the editor of national review. CNN political commentator Joan Walsh. What is your reaction Rich?

RICH LOWRY, EDITOR OF NATIONAL REVIEW AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think you're looking at this totally from the wrong perspective. Let's take Paul Ryan for instance. I'm sure -- almost certain he was pro-gun rights even before he thought about running for congress. So the idea all the Republicans are secret gun controllers and just have been bought off to go out and lie and pretend they're in favor of gun rights is not true. This is sincere.

LEMON: Where is the evidence I never said.

LOWRY: Well you're suggesting that Paul Ryan.

LEMON: I'm not suggesting anything.

LOWRY: Because of the money.

LEMON: Just reading the facts.

LOWRY: OK. So the contributions have nothing to do with Paul Ryan's conviction on guns we agree on that.

LEMON: No, we don't agree with that.

LOWRY: OK. That is the point I'm making.

LEMON: You're saying they're secret gun controller.

LOWRY: You're saying they're bought off. What are they being bought off to a position they don't agree with it? Is that what you suggest?

LEMON: Do you think they're not influenced by the money?


LEMON: Are you influenced by money? Do you know where your bread is butter?

LOWRY: Paul Ryan you think he is a secret gun controller.

JOAN WALSH, CN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, no one is saying that why creating the straw person that is what.

LOWRY: How it the money relevant.

WALSH: Money is relevant, because they have an alliance, the money is relevant.

LEMON: The money is getting them elected.

LOWRY: The NRA supporting him because he is pro-gun.

WALSH: They have come around.

LEMON: I am looking at it that way.

LOWRY: What's wrong?

LEMON: No it doesn't. Because he is influenced by the money. LOWRY: No, no, no. So you think -- you think when he was 16 years

old out hunting deer he was in favor of gun control then he ran for office and all this lobbyist money came to him and he changed his view on guns.

WALSH: You are creating a straw person.

LEMON: Why oppose common sense restrictions that the vast number of Americans before and by the way do you think he was out with an AR-15 hunting?

LOWRY: I am sure he is out with a rifle.

LEMON: OK but an AR-15.

LOWRY: The ar-15 is the most popular rifle in the country at the moment. Millions people own them and they don't go out and shoot up schools. Every one of those gun control measures that you mentioned universal background checks, cosmetic ban on certain stylistic weapons would do nothing to stops these sort of killings.

LEMON: How do you know that unless you try it, Rich? How do you know?

LOWRY: OK, Virginia tech one of the worst school shootings.

LEMON: Hold on let me -- let me just tell you this. Other country haves done the same thing. They have banned, done background checks. They have done sensible gun legislation. And guess what? They aren't nearly where we are when it comes to guns.

LOWRY: Let's talk about background checks. Everyone brings up background checks.

LEMON: Wise.

LOWRY: Almost every case they passed a background check because they hadn't been adjudicated and weren't guilt of crimes. There is no background check you can devise.

WALSH: In fact there is. There actually is.

LEMON: So how are you going to vindicate it that is the problem someone who hasn't.

Joan wait a minute. You can do a background check have the length be longer.

LOWRY: If you're talking.

[23:15:00] LEMON: Also where it doesn't have to be (inaudible). You can be a doctor, send people to be checked. Checked records when it comes to psychology.

LOWRY: People who are troubled and mentally ill have more interventions I agree with you. I agree with you but you're criticizing Donald Trump for saying that.

LEMON: I'm criticizing all politicians.

LOWRY: It's a constitutional right.

LEMON: Regardless Republican or Democrat who won't broach the subject of how we get sensible gun legislation to stop this from happening.

LOWRY: We talk about it all the time. The solutions -- the solutions you offer have no interaction with the horrific crimes. If you can give me.

LEMON: Dianne Feinstein propose that people who.

LOWRY: We can have a conversation.

LEMON: Diane Feinstein proposed people on the terror watch list were not able to buy guns. Republicans couldn't even come to consensus on that. How does that make sense?

LOWRY: Because the terror watch list is a mess. Everyone acknowledges that. If you clean it up.

WALSH: Clean it up.

LOWRY: Fine let's clean it up and then we can have the conversation.

LEMON: Do that as well.

LOWRY: The fundamental fact, Don is the second amendment that this country.

LEMON: You're saying people on the terror watch list in the interim while you clean it up they should be allowed to have guns.

WALSH: Mentally ill people gun.

LOWRY: Again you're talking about something that has no interaction with the actual crimes.

WALSH: We care more about guns than we do children. And it's disgusting. And we need to change the culture that -- that enshrines guns a kind of manhood. We are not entitled to ar-15. We are entitled to own guns, we are not entitled to own weapons of mass destruction. You brought the receipts all these guys, yes they've been bought and paid for. They may now have come around to agree. They are not secret gun controllers. They have.

LOWRY: You're saying they have been bought off they must not agree with the position.

WALSH: They are now kept. I don't know how they started but they are kept.

LEMON: Do you know the definition of conflict of interest?

LOWRY: No, look.

LEMON: No you don't.

LOWRY: No, no, no you believe none of these people are sincere some of them think the second amendment.

LEMON: I never said they weren't sincere. All I did was...

Here is what I'm saying. I put the information out there. Did you hear what I said facts first.

LOWRY: Right. But what -- what ok I'll --

LEMON: If you think that getting.

LOWRY: But what are you suggesting.

LEMON: Getting thousands of dollars millions of dollars doesn't influence someone non you're sadly mistaken come on.

LOWRY: So you're saying they sincerely believed there are all sorts of gun control measures that will make these go away.

LEMON: I think you're doing the same thing now with me in the conversation as people who oppose sensible gun laws do. You go to extremes. And you say things that people are not saying, you don't want to look at the facts because they don't line up with your ideology.

WALSH: Young man couldn't buy a beer couldn't buy a handgun.

LEMON: Paul Ryan has gotten 340 some odd thousand dollars.

LOWRY: What do you think the consequences? You tell me. You brought this up.

LEMON: What do you think the consequences are?

LOWRY: You tell me. You brought it off.

LEMON: I am asking you. What do you think it is?

LOWRY: I think he sincerely believes one in gun rights. And two, that the kind of measures you have talked about in the program would have nothing to do with stopping the shootings.

LEMON: That is not true.

LOWRY: How does the universal background check stop the shooting?

LEMON: That is not true. There is a new poll from Harvard printed in "The New York Times" yesterday. The only factor that separates us from other countries is the amount of guns and access to guns in this country.

LOWRY: Well, look we had an assault weapons ban and the best research in the 90s says it did nothing. It's a cosmetic -- it's a cosmetic definition. Semiautomatic.

WALSH: There is debate on that.

LEMON: That is not true the facts don't show.

LOWRY: Most guns are semiautomatic weapons that is basic technology. If you want to ban all semiautomatic weapon that is enormous prohibition. You have to go and confiscate them. You'll have second amendment problems. The critics


LEMON: No one is saying ban all semiautomatic -- no it is not my contradiction. I sit here to have a conversation to talk about it and to actually do something about it. I gave you facts about what most Americans want a ban on semiautomatic weapons. Most want a ban on assault weapons.

LOWRY: There is no magic solution, Don.

WALSH: You are saying there is a magic solution.

LOWRY: That doesn't mean they're going to be a good. You can either say there are minor things that work suggesting universal background check. Those would make no difference or you actually advocate something on large scale that might make a difference but you're -- but most gun controllers are afraid.

LEMON: How do you know it doesn't make a difference?

LOWRY: What shooting would a universal background check what mass shooting what mass shooting?

LEMON: You can't even take the basic steps.

WALSH: This young man was known to the police. The police came to his house multiple times. And he got a gun.

LOWRY: There should be more intervention. There should be more easier.

WALSH: And matching up with police records with guns.

[23:20:00] LOWRY: Compel treatment for people who are seriously mentally ill and need for intervention for them.

LEMON: Should they be able to get guns?

LOWRY: If they haven't been adjudicated gun ownership is an individual right. If I said to you the media is part of the problem here, we need to ban the media from talking about the shootings you would say, Rich, there is a first amendment right you can't do that. That is the way this country works. There is a bill of rights.

LEMON: Yes, there is a bill of rights. But then if congress or someone decided to do something about that, then we could talk about that.

LOWRY: To do something about the bill of rights.

LEMON: Yeah.

LOWRY: Or what rights.

WALSH: Talking about the availability of guns.

LEMON: There is nothing that stops -- there is nothing that stops people from having conversations about it. How much does the President.

LOWRY: Ok we're having a conversation.

LEMON: Don't over talk me. The President talks about all the time the media. He hates the media. He is upset about the media has a conversation about the media. The sheriff today says please media don't put the camera on anybody's face. Please don't do it we are free to talk about it.

LOWRY: If they propose a law a lot of people right will I say there is a first amendment. If you want to change the second amendment let's have that debate.

LEMON: Doesn't mean it's going to happen.

LOWRY: You want to change the second amendment.

WALSH: He didn't say that.

LOWRY: Ok what are you saying?

LEMON: I never said I wanted to change the second amendment. That is your extreme argument, because you don't want to take you don't want to take the small steps to try to figure out how to stop what happened.

LOWRY: That is what you're saying.

LEMON: You're saying that I want --

LOWRY: I'll say it again and then I'll stop and let you say it.

LEMON: Let me say it again.


LEMON: What we said was we give the facts on how much money gun lobbyist are offering these people who are in congress who are lawmakers and who refuse to do anything at all about gun violence in this.

LOWRY: I get that.

LEMON: that is the fact. LOWRY: Ok.

LEMON: You took it to an extreme saying I want to get rid of the second amendment people who wants sensible gun laws want to get rid of the second amendment and there is nothing that can be done about, that is extreme.

LOWRY: OK so what I said, you threw out this numbers. I think most.

LEMON: I didn't threw out the numbers, those are facts. I'm not throwing them out.

WALSH: They are real.

LEMON: Those are real numbers.

LOWRY: Whatever verb you want to use. You told people about the numbers. But I'm saying.

LEMON: Facts are nouns not verbs go on.

LOWRY: OK. Well throwing is a verb. But let's not get grammatical here. I'm saying people like Paul Ryan are sincere in their convictions and I'm quite certain he believed the same things about guns even before he ran for congress.

LEMON: Doesn't mean he is right.

LOWRY: That is true. That is true that is a different discussion.

WALSH: He won't bring up bump stock legislation and he won't even bring up sensible things that there are bipartisan consensus on. He blocks everything. He has totals control. And he is beholden to the NRA people use it.

LOWRY: You bring up these things that wouldn't stop the shootings.

WALSH: They would stop some. They might have.


LEMON: This is a circular argument. Do you think the young man in Florida should have had this gun?

LOWRY: No, but you can't -- but of course not I don't want murders to have guns.

LEMON: My gosh.

LOWRY: But what law what law would you pass under these circumstances.

LEMON: So let's have a conversation next.

LOWRY: What law can you pass that would prevent him from having a gun? LEMON: Ok then this is the conversation.

LOWRY: What is it tell me.

LEMON: I'm not a lawmaker.

LOWRY: What's the conversation?

WALSH: Much more stringent.

LEMON: That is exactly.


LOWRY: Answer my question.

LEMON: There is more stringent background checks.

There is an answer to the question. It's not necessarily passing laws or what have you. But there is an answer to that question.

LOWRY: If you want to say people around him should have been more concerned, I mean obviously they were concerned to some degree already calling the police. And they shouldn't haven't allowed him to have the gun. And take it away.

LEMON: Rich, you refuse to have any conversation about any sensible gun conversations.

LOWRY: I love having conversation. We're having a debate it's feisty. I'm enjoying it.

LEMON: You refuse to even have our lawmakers take on possible legislation for sensible gun legislation.

LOWRY: I'm all in favor of debate.

WALSH: But not the legislation.

LOWRY: Right.

LEMON: So you are not. There is nothing we can do that ends there. We're done.

LOWRY: We should try to do things. We should try to do measures to stop this from happening. What I'm saying.

LEMON: I don't think you know what you're saying.

LOWRY: Sure I do.

LEMON: No you don't I don't think you know what you're saying.

LOWRY: What you call common sense gun legislation are minor matters that do not most cases interact with the shootings. What you could propose is something much more wide ranging. LEMON: Would you say that to the face of the mom who is on here

earlier with her 17-year-old?

WALSH: These students are going out and will be activist and vote against guns. These students are going to change the world. They were chanting no more guns. This debate is opening, Rich, you are not seeing it.

LOWRY: We're not going to have a situation where you have no more guns. Sorry.

LEMON: No one says we should have no more guns.

WALSH: They meant no more guns in schools.

LOWRY: Well that -- I support keeping guns out of schools. And if there are ways to do it let's do it.

[23:25:00] WALSH: The point is politics are changing. And these kids will change it.


Thank you. That was lively.


LOWRY: We'll discuss grammar a little bit more next time.

LEMON: Well, facts are nouns. When we come back the 19-year-old ex- student who went on a shooting rampage at a Florida high school has confessed, but tonight we learn more about what investigators are uncovering. We'll be right back.


LEMON: The 19 year old ex-student who went on the shooting rampage at the Florida highs school has been charged with 17 counts of pre- meditated murder and we're learning much more tonight about the investigation. I want to bring in CNN Drew Griffin. He has more on that part of this investigation. So, Drew, you have some new information tonight about the 911 calls made to the shooter's home. What have you learned?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we've been hearing during the day, Don, from neighbors and friends about this house where in guy lived and how police came almost every weekend, quite frankly we didn't believe it. But tonight we were actually got our hands on the documents. And take a look. These are the police calls, the Broward county sheriff's calls that took place at the home of this shooter's family from 2010 until they moved out in January of 2017. There are 39 of them, 39 times the police were called to this home. We don't know the specifics, who called, why they were called, and who the target was. But we can tell you that the calls according to the police range from everything from a -- a mentally ill person to a domestic disturbance. Several 911 hang-up calls, Don. Child and elderly abuse and even several missing person calls, all related to this one home, where the shooter lived which seemed to have just call after call, police intervention police after intervention at that shooter's home.

LEMON: What's next, Drew, in this investigation? What are law enforcement officials saying now?

GRIFFIN: Well, they still have a huge task to go through, both forensically through this high school figuring out every single bullets were shot and landed. That is the forensic work. And already 2,000 interviews already conducted in this trying to gather all the information they can. The sheriff's department released a tick-tock, a time line of how the shooter came to the school, 2:19 he arrived in an Uber. Went inside the school with the black case. That had the gun inside. Removed the gun and at 2:21, just two minutes after arriving.



[23:30:00] DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ... a chilling time line of how the shooter came to the school, 2:19 he arrived in an Uber. Went inside the school with the black case. That black case had the gun inside. Removed the gun and at 2:21, just two minutes after arriving. He began shooting in classrooms. There is a couple of interesting things that took place during that time line. The sheriff actually says he shot up two different classroom went to a third, and then came back and shot some more in the first two classrooms. He eventually drops the gun he runs out the school blends with students. Goes to a Wal-Mart, buys a drink and a sandwich he is only apprehended an hour later, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: Drew Griffin, thank you very much for your reporting. I want to bring in CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy and CNN contributor Wesley Lowery, national reporter for the Washington post and Gregg McCrary a criminologist and former FBI behavioral scientist. Gentlemen thank you all for coming on. Wes I'll start with you at a brief hearing today, the shooter's attorney described him as a deeply disturbed emotionally broken young man who struggled with significant mental illness and trauma his whole life. What do you know about the type of childhood and life this young man had?

WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course. Well our reporting and CNN reporting as well seems to paint a picture of a child -- a young man who clearly has had both mental illness and a disturbed upbringing. This was someone who was living in foster homes after the death of parents and who recently had lost those foster parents to their own death -- to their own deaths. We have seen now reports about his behavioral issue, potentially at school, now as CNN is reporting the questions about police calls and police contacts, the reporting we've had both the post and CNN and others have reported talking to his classmates talked about him with odd behavior dating back to middle school and beyond that. So this is clearly -- there has been a lot of conversation about

whether or not someone should have said something sooner. What seems to be the case is that many people were saying things very early on often, whether the FBI contact regarding the YouTube comments, but even the behavioral discipline at school and classmates seeing him as someone who was perhaps was a threat.

It does raise questions about what do we do, being disturbed, being upset, being strange is not crime. It's not necessarily you can call the police on someone for. What do you do in a case where someone seems like they are a risk, but what are the police doing in those situations.

LEMON: That was the whole point? We touched on in the last segment. Everyone was speaking up about him, especially students. You heard Drew Griffin reporting about it. But yet, Wes, he was allowed to get a gun.

LOWERY: Of course because, again, he did not -- to our knowledge and obviously there are things we don't know. We don't have the police reports from all of the police contacts. To your knowledge, so far, the first crime that this young man committed was when he walked in the school with a gun. Short of that we are -- to your knowledge he had own the guns and purchased them legally. What was law enforcement to do? Right.

It's again, not illegal to have mental health issues. In fact we operate within a system where there are real deficiencies in terms of availability of treatment and we see this time and time again.

LEMON: If people have mental health issues should people be allowed to get their hands on a gun? What can we do in the interim to figure it out as before it has been a adjudicated as has been mentioned so many times, how do you keep them from doing it? Oliver, I want -- there is a new picture of the shooter Instagram pages, showing him wearing a manga hat. What have you learned about political views and political leanings tonight?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Right, there is that make America great hat which is interesting to say the least. But from looking at his online profile, he certainly posted a lot of things that I would characterize as alt right. He has a make America great hat. He posts comments about gun control. He wrote that f all of you stop trying to take away our rights. You f-ing, n word. He would post about Antifa, saying he wanted to kill them.

LEMON: Making fun of Muslims and Allahu Akbar. At first he was some sort of sympathizer with the group with jihadist and extremist.

DARCY: Right. They read it completely opposite to this far right websites to say he was somehow an ISIS supporter when in fact he was making racial slurs against Muslims and against minorities.

LEMON: I want to bring you in, Greg. As you know the shooter posted a YouTube comment that he would like to be a professional school shooter. The FBI admits that it was alerted to the post but was unable to fully identify the person who posted it. How is that possible?

[23:35:13] GREGG MCCRACRY, FORMER FBI BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST: Well, it's very easy. Very difficult to get the -- get someone like that identified. It's a name. Now, we are constrained by Attorney General Guidelines and laws. We just can't start -- can't get warrants and start drilling down and pulling up all sorts of websites and social media. In other words how many people in the United States are named Nikolas Cruz? I don't know. Plenty. We had no real identifying data. Couldn't get a warrant -- I say we, the FBI -- the FBI couldn't do much other than what they did, which is do the database search which isn't just a database. It's a cross platform, hook with many agencies and in-depth. But they didn't stop there either. And that is why I think the bureau is getting kind of a bad rap. I saw the crawl against the CNN earlier today saying, you know the FBI ignored the warning signs.

No I don't think so. They did the database search. The very next day an agent was sent out there. Drop everything else he was doing. It was a priority go out and interview the guy who made the call. And what they found out apparently is this is a guy who just happened to see it took a screen shot of it and called it in and it is the right thing to do. Didn't know who he was and this was in Mississippi. I have seen the bureau criticized for not calling the Broward county sheriff's office. Well how would you know? How would we know? We didn't call the PIMA county sheriff office or the King County, the Genesee County or Eric County. We don't know the guy. Is that a real name or assumed identity? We have to be careful we don't fall into hindsight bias where we know all this -- which is a well-known psychological phenomena of beginning to think once we know the outcome of an event that it's more predictable than it was before it happened. There is a lot of that going on as well.

LEMON: Yeah, I understand what you're saying. But there is certainly a lot of evidence there. And we'll put it up before I let you guys go. This is one video showing the shooter engaged in target practice outside his backyard.

MCCRACRY: Yes, but who knew that.

LEMON: I'm just showing it to you. So I'm saying I agree with you. I'm sure that is happening. But there was.


LEMON: Someone had to shoot this and had to see it must have been one of his neighbors. Thank you Greg, Oliver, Wes I appreciate your time.

17 students and teachers died in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school yesterday and we are learning more about them tonight. This is Luke Hoyer, 15. His cousin said his smile was contagious and so was his laugh. He loved his mother and father with all his power. 14- year-old Aliana Petty was a member of the army reserve training corps and a volunteer for the helping hands program of the church of Jesus Christ Lauderdale Saints. She was one of hundreds who helped victims of hurricane Irma last year. Jamie Guttenberg was just 14. Her father said on Facebook quote, I'm broken as I write this trying to figure out how many families get through this. How my family gets through this. We'll be right back.


[23:42:13] LEMON: Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school will be closed tomorrow as the people of Parkland Florida mourn the 17 innocent victims murdered in the mass shooting. One man who knows firsthand the grief the community is going through is Frank DeAngelis. He was the principal of Columbine High School in 1999 when two students opened fire killing 12 classmates and one teacher and he joins me now. And I wish we could have spoken better in a better circumstances. Thanks for joining us. When you see the images of the high school students running out what goes through your mind?

FRANK DEANGELIS, FORMER PRINCIPAL, COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL: It takes me back to April 20th, 1999, the same feelings when I saw pictures yesterday I just got chills. And immediately I thought back to that day and everything we went through. And my heart just started aching for the people in Florida and Parkland, knowing what lies ahead for them. And I had a chance to go back to columbine to visit with the teachers there. And they said the same thing.

LEMON: It has been 19 years. Almost 20 years -- 20 years soon since Columbine not counting the yesterday's shooting, since then there have been 21 mass shootings that killed -- look at that map it is unbelievable. We have a map up here. That killed eight or more people. We have them all up on the screen right now. Again it's a shooting where eight or more people were killed. What do you think about where we are now as a country compared to that horrible day at your school?

DEANGELIS: Well, in this -- and this is the thing I have to look at. The senseless shootings need to stop. Because our most precious commodity is our children. I know last night every parent, grandparent went home and hugged their child. It just brings that emotion out. But, you know, one of the things that I would like to know is we continue to hear about the shootings, whether it be in Florida, Kentucky, Los Angeles, Dallas just to mention a few within the past six weeks, but how many have been stopped because of programs we do have in place? But we got to continue to figure out what we can do that we don't have to keep doing these interviews, don't have to keep sending news crews to look at the communities in mourning. I don't know if we're learning the lessons. Right now it's disheartening to me.

LEMON: Well, having said that, do you think it's a lack of political courage from the people we elect and send to Washington that is that is got to be frustrating to you.

DEANGELIS: Well it's frustrating from the standpoint that I really believe it's just not one thing that is going to fix it, you know. There is people out there saying we need tougher gun laws. That is part of it, but I think there is a mental health component. There is programs.

[23:45:06] I think we have to figure out ways to get parents more involved in their children's life. Something that is much more prevalent now than it was 19 years is the social networking and some of the things we get from the initial reports coming out now is was this killer broadcasting time and time again? And how many times that our kids are on social media, whether Instagram or some of the other sites they go to and seeing some of this and are they reporting it? I mean parents, if they see behavior by kids that are in their community are they reporting it or just sitting back saying this is just kids being kids? We can no longer say that.

LEMON: Listen you know from experience because you've been where the people of parkland Florida are tonight. You have a chance now to tell lawmakers something they could do to make a difference. What do you want them to do? You said it's a multipronged approach, more than just, you know, guns. It's more than just mental health. There are a number of things that can be done. What do you want?

DEANGELIS: Well, and I want to see us put all the pieces to the puzzle together. That we reach out and politically I wish -- if I could tell the politicians anything -- and it's one young man reached out to the politicians today, the students in Parkland we need to cross aisles. Because as this arguing is going on kids are dying. We can't allow that to happen. Whether it be egos or philosophies we need to cross the paths to come together to decide what do we have to do to stop this from happening? And that is my plea out to them. Because I -- I cannot tell you the number of memorial services that I went to not only at columbine but the aftermath of up columbine of kids who took their own lives because they were impacted by Columbine.

And we see some of the things going on with social cyberbullying and these are senseless deaths. We need to come up with programs that reach out to this kids. We need to tell parents these are things you need to look for with kids, because the kids are so smart with the social media. And do they know where their kids are going and the trouble they can get into? And it's not -- it's not to look to penalize or discipline it's to help. And I think we need to send a strong message.

What worries me there has to be a strong message being sent because I can assure you there are people out there just like in killer that took 17 lives and injured that are saying look at the recognition that this person is getting. And I want this type of recognition. And I can't tell you the number of killers that were involved, whether it be the person from Sandy Hook or the person from Virginia tech that mentioned Columbine as motivation. And the last thing we need right now is for this killer to serve as a motivator for other potential people that are out there planning something similar.

LEMON: Copy cats. Thank you.

Thank you. I appreciate your time.

DEANGELIS: Thank you.

LEMON: 17 people students and teachers died in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school yesterday. We are learning more about them tonight. Martin Duque Anguiano was a 14-year-old freshman. His brother Miguel writing on Instagram quote words can't describe my pain. I love you brother Martin, you'll be missed. Carmen Schentrup was 16 a semi finalities for the national merit scholarship program. Cara Loughran was 14. She attended the drake school of Irish dance in south Florida. They called her a beautiful soul who always had a smile on her face. And there are more young people's whose families are grieving tonight. We learn their stories in the coming days. But every one of them was lost far too young. Gina Montalto was 14 as was Alex Schachter. Meadow Pollack 18, Peter Wang, 15, Helena Ramsay, 17. To learn how you can help the victim and their families, you are going to impact your world at We will be right back.


[23:52:25] LEMON: We have some breaking political news tonight on two big stories. First, the Rob Porter scandal. We're learning that the FBI obtained photos of the bruised face of Colbie Holderness seven days after President Trump's inauguration last year. That is according to e-mails obtained by CNN. It's unclear if the FBI sent the photos themselves to the White House. Although, a law enforcement official source says the bureau would have at least described what they saw in the photos. The White House has claimed the full extent of the domestic violence allegations against Porter weren't known by senior officials until last week.

And a CNN exclusive in the Russian investigation. Sources say, a former top adviser to the Trump campaign is close to a plea deal with Robert Mueller. I want to talk with that CNN contributor John Dean a former counsel in the Nixon White House. Good evening to you sir. Thank you for joining us on CNN. CNN is exclusively reporting that former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is in the process of finalizing a plea deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller. How significant is this development?

JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It could be very significant. He was very close to Manafort who was very close to Trump. And the rules change if you have a conspiracy, Don. Everything that Manafort told him suddenly becomes admissible and in play because it's an exception to the hearsay rule. Normally a witness who doesn't have direct knowledge in not good. In a conspiracy, can be very important with this. The White House is brushing this off. They might be very careless or just trying to play it down. I'm not sure which one.

LEMON: We've been talking about the terms that are used in law enforcement and prosecutions. But sources told CNN that Gates was in a queen for a day interview with Mueller's prosecutors. Tell us about that and what questions Mueller's team was likely asking him about.

DEAN: That is a term that isn't used as much today. When a witness goes in for a proffer, to offer what they could give the government in exchange for a plea deal. And in those circumstances, the witness, or the target, is granted immunity, that is where the queen for the day term comes from, that was an old television or radio show, I'm not sure which one, where women would get on the air and tell their woes. And the worst woes of the day was the queen for the day. That is where the term comes from. We don't know what is happening here. [23:55:00] This is behind closed doors. It's clearly the shifting of

lawyers, was the first indication that something was happening. She is got a very good lawyer, Tom Green, who goes all the way back to Watergate. Tried one of the cases during the major trial during Watergates. He got his client off, by the way.

LEMON: John, can I ask you, if this is all a hoax, fake news, as the President says, why have three people with ties to Trump pled guilty so far?

DEAN: Well it's not a hoax. It's not a witch-hunt. This is very real. While they're trying to discount it, I think we have very smart prosecutors, very experienced prosecutors. They're holding their cards very close to their vest. They're not letting us all -- they're not telegraphing what they're doing. They're building their case. In time, we will know what it's all about. But the White House, trying to discount it and discredit it, is really playing a risky game.

LEMON: We've also learned today that the former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was questioned by Robert Mueller's team over the period of two days. It happened this week. How big of a piece of the puzzle do you think that Steve Bannon is?

DEAN: Again, he has a lot of knowledge once he comes into the campaign. He comes in the last 90 days. He knows what is happening then. And he certainly knows what was happening as they got the White House off the ground. Those were the times when the decision was made to fire Comey. That is when Flynn was in jeopardy and doing some back channel the dealings with the Russians. That might have been ok if he had done them openly, but he didn't. So we don't know what Manafort knows, but he probably knows the good bet.

LEMON: John Dean, appreciate your time, thank you sir.

DEAN: Thank you.

LEMON: That is it for us tonight. Thanks for watching. I'll see you right back here tomorrow.