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Parents And Students Of The Marjory Douglas High School Gathered Together And Rally Against NRA; President Trump Appears To Finally Accept That Russia Did In Fact Meddle, Skier Lindsey Vonn Ended Up In Sixth Place In Pyeongchang Olympics. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 17, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:25] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good afternoon on this Saturday. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And today, powerful emotions on display in Florida, anguished voices calling for change. After this week's massacre at Parkland, Florida, high school. Parents in tears saying no more. No more sending a child to school. It should not be this scary.
One Florida mother chanting over and over again, enough is enough. Yet one voice really stood out. 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a student who survived the shooting. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMA GONZALEZ, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call BS. Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers nowadays saying that all we are all self-involved and trend obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation.
We are prepared to call BS. Politicians! Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS.
We say that -- they say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Seventeen lives were lost in Wednesday's massacre. And now the 19-year-old man who has confessed to those killings, to shooting and killing those 17 students and teachers, is now charged with their murders. The shooter's attorney says he is mentally ill. He has depression. He is a broken child. People who know him personally, not as sympathetic, calling him very strange. A former classmate told CNN that if there was someone to shoot up a school, it would be him.
CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is in Parkland, Florida.
Drew, you have been digging into his past and to his social media postings, and you have talked to people who know this gunman. People who were afraid of him. What have you uncovered?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And most importantly, we found out just how many times the police here in Broward County intervened with this family and this kid, called to the House many times, 30 times or so over the past several years, Ana. And also, talking in detail with the police now about his mental status, about his mental health issues, about the fact that he was going through treatment. About his behavioral problems.
This was a well, well known person to law enforcement. Well known person to the students and to the school, that this is just the type of person that should not be holding any kind of weapon, yet he passed that background check. And according to his former neighbor, it's just impossible to believe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL GOLD, SCHOOL SHOOTER'S NEIGHBOR: Why was he ever allowed to buy a gun? That is crazy. I mean, if I would have known that he had a gun, I would have taken it. I would have personally taken action. I would have, you know, I would have taken the gun from him. He had too much of a temper. He would break things. He would be the last person who should ever have a weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Paul Gold witnessed first-hand what he says the time slot deterioration in Nikolas Cruz's life, up to the point where out of the blue, Ana, Cruz called him on November when his mother died. He needed a ride to his own funeral. That was just a couple months ago. And at that funeral, there were just four people in attendance. Paul Gold, his former girlfriend, and the two Cruz brothers who put their mother's urn into that mausoleum together. He said it was a very sad, very terrible moment for Nikolas Cruz. Believes that may have been a tipping point for him.
Police continue to investigate here. They are going through the electronic devices and cell phones of Nikolas Cruz. But as we have been reporting, as you have been reporting, Ana, his social media posts really telegraphed exactly who he was, what he was capable of doing, and absolutely what he said he was going to do, shoot up people -- Ana.
CABRERA: And among the other signs of trouble here, Drew, you mentioned it. Earlier, there were literally dozens of calls to his house. Do we know any more about the nature of those calls?
[16:05:07] GRIFFIN: The calls ranged everything from missing person to help with a mentally ill person. There were several calls about elderly abuse, child neglect calls. Police were there, according to the neighbors, once every weekend. It was notorious, not just for Nikolas Cruz but also for his fellow adopted brother, Zachary Cruz. These two kids had behavioral problems, constantly needed attention by police. Their mom, a single mom, after their adopted father died, appears not to have been able to help or cope with the situation, as both those brothers needed much more help than she could provide.
CABRERA: Oh, my. Drew Griffin in Parkland, Florida for us, thank you.
And now we are learning according to the FBI that they got at least two tips about this shooter in the past few weeks. Tips from people who were very troubled by his comments about killing people. His disturbing posts online, and the FBI says they didn't act on these tips. They failed to follow up, to follow their own protocol.
I want to talk to our political commentator, Van Jones. Also, national security analyst Samantha Vinograd and counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd.
So Phil, I mean, the FBI says they got a call in January 5th, six weeks ago, this caller provided information about Cruz's gun ownership, his desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting. How did the FBI drop the ball here? How did it happen?
PHILLIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: You are asking the wrong guy. I have talked to FBI personnel over the past couple days and police personnel, including today in Coral Gables, Florida, where I am now. None of us has an explanation. I think -- I applaud the FBI director for coming out within about 48 hours for saying this.
But if you look at this, I hate to say this, even worse, it's not one call. A simple records check, assuming you had a name on the individual, on January 5th, would have showed you that there was another reference on him from an FBI office months earlier, as you know. A simple records check would have said if those two names, if those two call-ins indicate violence, should we do a records check to determine whether he has a weapon? That would have said yes. And I think the answers here are going to be really ugly. And I would argue that this is going to echo through the FBI not for months but for years to come. This is going to be nasty.
CABRERA: Van, if the FBI screwed up, then one could argue the shooting was preventable, regardless of the gun laws. Your thoughts on that?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I am heartbroken, as so many people are. I mean, the idea that none of these funerals had to happen, that people did what they were told. I mean, they always tell us, if you see something, say something. And you know, it's inconceivable that, you know, people who could watch this train wreck about to happen could call on our government over and over again to do something, and nothing was done.
That said, I also think that this is a different kind of a school shooting. And that it was live tweeted. It was, you know, people with Instagram and social video, people were pulled into that school in a very different way. And you now have a generation of young people who are not going to go quietly.
And I don't think you should underestimate the power of this young generation to put the NRA on trial, to make this an issue in the midterms and going forward. I mean, you have seen over and over again in history when young people, going back to the '60s, with, you know, those movements, when they get engaged and stay engaged, they can move things.
So my hope is that these deaths are not in vain. But, you know, something went desperately wrong with the FBI. And you know, it's going to, I think, make this generation feel they have to take action for themselves on behalf of themselves in order to be safe.
CABRERA: Sam, back to what went wrong here with the FBI. It's been a rough few months for the FBI. How do you think this new revelation impacts the agency's credibility?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think it's damaging. And this was obviously a tragic and fatal failure of the system. And the department of justice has responded and said that they are looking into what went so massively wrong along different steps.
But Ana, this is one piece of the puzzle. And I don't want to make any excuses for the breakdown that occurred at the FBI. But often after tragedies like this, whether it be school shootings or terrorist attacks, we blame the agency and we say why didn't you pick up on the threat?
The fact of the matter the FBI, like other government agencies, again, making no excuses, is inundated with threat reporting. And that should keep happening, but we have to look at all pieces of the puzzle here. We need to look at the root causes of violence as well as, for example, why anyone has a need for an AR-15 at this point if they are not working for the government. Let's look at the whole picture and what led to this individual being able to have access to weapons. Being able to walk into a school and shoot it up, while we do this internal review of what happened.
[16:10:08] CABRERA: So the FBI is going to have an internal review which you mentioned. We also know that members of Congress, they are asking for the FBI now to come before them.
Phil, Florida governor Rick Scott actually wants the FBI director, who was selected by President Trump, Christopher Wray, to resign after learning about this failure to act. Do you agree?
MUDD: No way. Not now, not ever. First of all, I think he served well thus far. But to honor those children, there is a question we need to ask. That question is what happened when the school expelled these individuals? Did they have an option to refer to him to a program? What happened when there were 30-plus police visits to the house? Could we have matched that up with the FBI phone call? What happened when he posted on social media? Is part of the conversation with Silicon Valley to say how do we flag these people? Let me give you a bottom line concern. That is politicians will
divert the overall conversation we need to have, including an inexcusable FBI error to talk solely about the FBI because it's going to take politicians off the hook to talk about tougher problems. We owe those children more than that conversation.
CABRERA: I want to pivot, guys, because it hasn't just been a rough week for the FBI. It's been a rough week for John Kelly as well, Van, in the wake of the information about White House security clearances. At least 100 White House officials served with interim clearances as recently as November. We don't know (INAUDIBLE). But yesterday, Kelly put out this new memo saying all White House clearances need to be directly reported to the White House counsel's office, and any derogatory red flags of senior staff, they need to be flagged to him within 48 hours. Do you think this is enough to silence his critics?
JONES: Well, I don't think it's going to silence his critics, but I do think it nail -- these are human institutions. It's one of the things, you know, that those of us who have served in government, we sometimes think that these are, you know, perfect institutions run by perfect people that never make any mistakes. I do think we have to hold people accountable and keep pushing for better outcomes. But, you know, just like there are things that go wrong on your job and things that don't make sense and therefore systems that need to be replaced and improved, that's true with government as well.
And I want to say earlier, the question was, you know, resignations or firings. Listen, sometimes, you know, that's the cheap, easy answer, but you don't solve the problem. If you take somebody out of their position, you put somebody else in there, but as Phil was saying, you don't do anything about the broader systems. And the other ways to make things better, and you feel good about the firing, but nothing gets better, you have not solved the problem.
CABRERA: Sam, put that into perspective for us, though, 100 people with interim security clearances almost a year into a presidency, is that unusual?
VINOGRAD: It is unusual, particularly for senior staff like Rob Porter or Jared Kushner to have interim clearances. And frankly, I was disappointed by John Kelly's memo. It talked about this kind of new reporting procedure. But John Kelly still has not responded to the fact that the director of national intelligence this week said that he had concerns with people with interim clearances having access to sensitive intelligence.
Jared Kushner is in the presidential daily briefing every single day. So we now have a scenario where President Trump and general Kelly are directly going against the counsel of the director of national intelligence and letting Jared Kushner into the oval office to view the sensitive intelligence.
CABRERA: That testimony stood out to me, too. We brought it to you live here on CNN earlier this week, Phil, and we know Jared Kushner, at last check, still had this interim clearance. But here you have the director of national intelligence Daniel Coats saying he thinks people with limited clearances should be limited or have limited access to classified information. So do you agree? Should Kushner's access be cut off?
MUDD: I think it should. And I think there should be a simple policy process that says this. If you can't get a full clearance within a certain specified period of time, let's say 60 or 90 days, not only do you not have an interim clearance, you don't have a clearance at all because that tells me that in this case, the White House found something. They just didn't want to act on it.
There is one asterisk here, Ana. And that's the President of the United States can clear in whoever he wants. He can bring whoever he wants into the oval office. So even if Jared Kushner didn't have a security clearance, I think any president, including President Trump would say, I don't care. I clear whatever is in my daily briefing for my son-in-law and he can see it.
CABRERA: All right, everybody, thank you so much. Van Jones, Sam Vinograd, Phil Mudd, I appreciate all your expert opinions and thoughts.
Coming up you will hear from the teenager giving voice to a nation's outrage today. That's live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:18:49] GONZALEZ: The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call BS.
Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers nowadays saying that all we are all self-involved and trend obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation. We are prepared to call BS.
Politicians! Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this, we call BS.
We say that -- they say tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS.
They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS.
They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: That is brave 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez, a student who survived the Florida shooting, speaking moments ago at an ant anti-gun rally in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She's live with CNN's Martin Savidge -- Martin. [16:20:03] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana. You know,
this rally was organized by adults. It was actually put together by a number of politicians. But it was very evident from the beginning. It was student voices, voices like Emma Gonzales and also by David Hogg here, that really delivered the most powerful message.
You just went off. And but it was in such an emotional and deeply moving way. Where did that come from?
GONZALEZ: My heart. I don't want to be a sap, but yes, I have been thinking of that stuff nonstop ever since before the election, all the news about the election coming forward, and all the information coming forward about the current president. And I went off because I was given the opportunity to go off. And I wasn't afraid to talk about this.
MARTIN: No, it was clear, you weren't afraid. There was a great deal of courage.
So David, you too, spoke out in a very strong and passionate way. Why is it that it's the young voices, especially those that come from this school, that are now leaving this kind of charge for change?
DAVID HOGG, SENIOR, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: Because the politicians can't. They can, but they refuse to. They would rather see their re-election campaigns funded by special interest groups than actually saving children's lives. And it is sick and disgusting. And that's why we have to take this position, because if we don't, God knows how many more children are going to die.
MARTIN: You know how many times we have had these tragedies in our country, whether it is in school or in of the public spaces. Things haven't changed. What makes you believe it will this time?
GONZALEZ: The mobility from today alone, this is day four and we had a rally. We had an incredibly large amount of people. I don't know how many interviews David and I alone have given in the past few days. We have an incredible amount of people behind us. We have superintendent Runcy talking to us behind the scenes. We have an incredibly large support system.
And I'm not saying that other schools didn't have that, but I don't know, maybe like if we didn't have the support system, obviously, we wouldn't be here right now talking about this. It would be swept under the carpet. And I am very happy to see what's going on.
MARTIN: Let me go, before we run out of time, David, the aspect of really bringing about serious change, one of the things I noted is how quickly this tragedy went from mourning, and you all are still mourning. I don't deny that. But to demanding action, it was almost overnight.
HOGG: It had to be because if it's not, how many more children are going to die? Honestly. And I look at politicians and ask them, what are you going to do about this? Are you going to keep getting campaign contributions (INAUDIBLE)? I say if you have gotten a campaign contribution from the NRA, you better put it out there, because if not, I'm going to put it out there tomorrow at this time.
MARTIN: Do you think as young people you can bring about change? Especially because politicians look to voter.
GONZALEZ: Absolutely. Like today - like, as to what David was saying, the way that I deal with my grief is by working towards a way that I can fix what caused it. And that's what I'm doing today. And I know there's a lot people who can't do that right now, and I'm proud to know them, even if they can't get their voice out there. I know they're behind us. And that they are with us all the way, and that we - we are not going to stop until this doesn't happen again. Even if it takes, and it's not going to take, 20 years, it will stop.
MARTIN: You want this to be the last massacre, as you say.
GONZALEZ: Yes. And even if that realistically can't happen, one of the last.
MARTIN: All right, Emma, thank you very much. It was a pleasure to meet you. Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, thank you both very much for talking to us and thank you for participating today.
Ana, these are the young voices, and these are the voices they believe will bring change finally to a culture full of violence -- Ana.
CABRERA: They have been through a lot. They are so strong. And they are making their thoughts, their voices, their hearts known to the world.
Emma, David, and Martin, thank you so much.
Up next, it is official, 13 Russians have been indicted for interfering in the 2016 election. And their charges detail exactly how they did it, including how they traveled to the U.S. to collect intelligence, even going so far as to steal the identities of actual American citizens. Were they in your state?
[16:27:42] CABRERA: For the very first time, President Trump's own national security adviser is publicly saying that there is undeniable proof that Russia meddled in the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: This admission is significant because even though U.S. intelligence agencies have been saying Russia interfered for more than a year, President Trump has been hesitant to believe them. But now, the special counsel has formally indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities for meddling in the election, and the charges detail exactly how they did it.
CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz has read through every page of this 37-page indictment.
And Shimon, this document reveals the Russians were essentially running their own shadow campaign without voters even realizing it. It was so sophisticated and researched. They actually came here to the U.S. for recon, right?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, that's exactly right. You know, kind of like a big, sophisticated spy operation. That was in June 2014. They came here for almost an entire month. And you can see there on the screen, all the different states they traveled. And it was an effort to learn more about our political system, some of the issues that could potentially they can influence, some of the political election issues that they wanted to influence. And as you saw there, they visited quite a number of states.
CABRERA: And some of those states like Colorado, Florida, they are considered purple states. So interesting to see where they were targeting as well. And then we find out they take this intelligence back to Russia. They set up their scheme, essentially, like one would a business. They went so far as to steal Americans' identities. Tell us more about it.
PROKUPECZ: Yes, this was quite the operation. They had analysts, I mean, it was really a structured setup for this organization. And they have really had -- look at this, they had graphics department, data analysis department, all used for research. They had an IT department, because what they were doing here, also, is that they were going and stealing people's identities here in the U.S. and creating fake driver's license. They opened Pay Pal accounts with the fake identities. The identities, stolen identities, to buy ads on social media. And then they used these computer servers here in the U.S. in order to make it seem like everything that they were doing was coming from the United States when in fact it was really being directed out of Russia.
[16:30:18] CABRERA: we know then they started pumping out fake news on social media. In addition, they were paying for political ads, orchestrating rallies here in the U.S. and it was all with one goal in mind. Sow discord and stop Hillary Clinton.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. In the end, that is what this indictment alleges. That this was a campaign by the Russians to anti-Hillary Clinton and really to sow discord. They wanted to depress voters. And so, what this indictment says is that basically, they would then go into these towns, into these places, post fake news. Post things on social media in an effort to sow discord, right.
And as you see here, it says, they used specialists. This is how sophisticated the organization was. The specialists were instructed to post content that focused on politics in the USA and use an opportunity, any opportunity to criticize Hillary Clinton and the rest. And then it says except Sanders and Trump. We support them. This is coming from people who were part of this organization. You
know, there was an effort here to depress some voting in hopes of who knows, you know, there is some indication they did want President Trump elected in the end. And that's what this was all about.
CABRERA: And when you talk about those efforts to depress the vote, I mean, they were essentially trying to prevent minority voters specifically from voting in the election or for even perhaps voting for a third party candidate, Jill Stein is mentioned in the indictment as well.
Shimon Prokupecz, thank you for that report.
Now that we have these indictments, President Trump appears to finally accept that Russia did in fact meddle. However, he also sees the charges as a win.
He writes, Russia started their anti-U.S. campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for president. The results of the election were not impacted. Trump campaign did nothing wrong. No collusion.
So is the President vindicated? Back with us, CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, he is a former CIA counterterrorism official and former FBI senior intelligence advisor. CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd, she served as former senior adviser to the national security advisor under President Obama. And joining us now, CNN legal analyst Page Pate. He is a criminal defense attorney and constitutional lawyer.
So Page, welcome to the panel. I'll start with you with a simple question. Does this indictment prove the president didn't collude?
PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'll tell you, Ana, I do think he has a decent argument because they did not need to put in this draft indictment, in the indictment that was finally returned. The mention that the unwitting individuals in the Trump campaign knew nothing about the Russian interference in the election, at least as part of this conspiracy.
I think by making that statement, and then having the deputy attorney general during a press conference very clearly state that this indictment is not charging anyone in the United States with being involved in this, I think they gave Trump something to argue, to at least say there was no collusion as far as this illegal conspiracy.
But that's not the end of the investigation. And it is very unusual for one indictment to contain all of the different conspiracies that are currently being investigated by the special counsel's office. We have seen separate indictments for Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and others. So I wouldn't expect the entire case to be laid out in this indictment. But I do think he has an argument that as far as this conspiracy, there was no evidence they were involved.
CABRERA: Well, it's not in this indictment, and the wording there is emphasized that when Rod Rosenstein made his announcement about this indictment by the Mueller team of these Russian individuals, he used that exact phrasing. In this indictment, there is no collusion that is referenced involving any Americans.
Sam, the thing that was really interesting that stood out to me about the President's tweet is he did kind of make it about him and he loo looked at this revelation of the indictment saying, see, it started before I even entered the presidential race. And see, there were no witting Americans involved in this conspiracy, but he doesn't condemn Russia's actions.
VINOGRAD: No. His tweet actually helps Russia. On the very day that the FBI does its job, that the process is working, that our law enforcement system is working, the President chooses not to talk about the external enemy, Russia, and the 13 individuals that were named as part of a Putin directed attack on our country. Instead, he made this about him. So incredibly narcissistic. And again, incredibly dangerous because he doesn't talk about Russia. And he undermines the ongoing investigation, which creates confusion, sows divisions, demoralizes the American people. Those are exactly the objectives of Russia's information warfare campaign.
[16:35:06] CABRERA: Phil, after President Trump met with Vladimir Putin last July, I recall, he said this about their meeting and I quote.
"I said to him, were you involved in the meddling with the election? He said, absolutely not. I was not involved. He was very strong on it. I then said to him in a totally different way, were you involved with the meddling? He said, I was not, absolutely not. What do you do? End up in a fist fight?"
President Trump then even suggested working with Russia to protect our elections.
Tweeting, Putin and I discussed forming an impenetrable cybersecurity unit so that election hacking and many other negative things will be guarded.
Phil, does it seem like the President got played by Putin?
MUDD: Not only played, but you know, occasionally, you find humor in the national security business. Did you see his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, come out and say no way we are going to participate in a working group with Russians. How many presidents have we had when various cabinet officials and this case national security advisers say I don't care what the president says, we are not doing this.
But to get serious for a moment, there are three problems with what the President is doing. You have given us one. He has to be the messenger in-chief to the Russians to say you can't do this, and don't sit there and lie to me. Number two, he has got to be the organizer in-chief. You know how many federal agencies are going to be involved in protecting elections. Federal election commission, to responding FBI, CIA, others. He has to bring them in and say what's the plan? One of the significant and final points, who is the speaker in chief
to the American people going into 2018 and 2020 to say this is how I want you to be careful about consuming news. He should be that person and I don't see how he can do that.
CABRERA: Page, taking a closer look at this indictment and understanding more or less what it means. One of the first lines in it is defendants with others known and unknown to the grand jury, knowingly and intentionally conspired to defraud the United States. So what does that mean, together with others known and unknown to the grand jury?
PATE: Well, Ana, I have seen thousands of federal indictments. And that's common language. You have the individuals who are named as defendants. And we have 13 particular defendants in this case. And then obviously, other people who were involved. Now, those other people may eventually be added as defendants in this case. They may be defendants in a separate case, or they may be uncharged conspirators.
So it leaves the door open down the road, as cooperators come forward and they are working with the special counsel's office, maybe they get additional information to charge other people, or perhaps there's some folks who were involved in actually assisting these Russians but didn't know what they were up to, so those people will never be charged.
Basically, I'm going to lay out some space here to change this indictment, add defendants and add charges if we need to.
CABRERA: Page Pate, Phil Mudd, Samantha Vinograd, thank you all.
Still to come, the shooting massacre in Florida brought back memories of numerous school shootings in the past, especially this one. A deadly rampage at Columbine high school nearly two decades ago. The man who was Columbine's principal at that time, recently retire, joins me after the break.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[16:41:35] CABRERA: Active shooter, a term nobody understood prior to Columbine. And now it's an all too common reality on college campuses and schools all around the country.
On Wednesday, lessons learned may have prevented more carnage, if you can even imagine, and saved lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. And yet, in nearly 20 years since Columbine, a lot of people are left asking what's changed to prevent these kinds of attacks.
With us now to discuss, Frank DeAngelis. He was the principal at Columbine high school when that shooting occurred. He has since retired. He is a consultant now with the Jefferson County school district.
Frank, it's so nice to see you.
FRANK DEANGELIS, PRINCIPAL AT COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL DURING 1999 SHOOTING: Good to see you. And thank you for the opportunity.
CABRERA: We have to quit meeting on these terms. I mean, here we are again. Why do you think this keeps happening?
DEANGELIS: You know, I remember after the columbine tragedy, making a statement in one of my first interviews. I said I hope that these kids do not die in vain in these senseless deaths stop. And unfortunately, they continue to happen. And we see it happening in, you know, 2018, in Kentucky, Los Angeles, Dallas, and now in Florida. But one of the things I think we need to also make mention is there have been many stopped because of some of the things we do have in place since the Columbine. And it's -- but we have to say enough is enough. And one more life is one too many.
CABRERA: How do you make sense of it? The fact that you talk about solutions being implemented, and progress made when it comes to school safety, and yet more lives are lost. And in this case, 17 lives. In one shooting.
DEANGELIS: I think one of the things that I would really like to say is I'm not sure if there's just one solution to what is happening. And what scares me a little bit is I think there are people that feel if we have tougher gun laws, then the students are going to stop, and that's one piece of the puzzle, but there's other things involved in addition to looking at gun legislation. What can we do to tighten up some of the loopholes and some of the things we have.
But we also have to look at mental health. We also have to look at reporting mechanisms such as what we are hearing about now, that there were some red flags going up. Did we look at all the things out there?
So it worries me when I hear people saying, well, if we just do this one little thing, it's going to stop it. I don't think we can look at it. We have to look at it with a broader lens. And gun control is one, just one of the pieces, but there's many other things, mental health, you know, getting parents involved, making parents aware of some of the things that their children may be doing on social media.
CABRERA: I know you have taken on a mission to try to implement measures that could save lives and that can make schools safer. Can you remind us what has been done since Columbine?
DEANGELIS: Well, I think the number one thing that has been done is back on April 20th, 1999, there was a protocol being used by the police that was secure the perimeter. And as a result of that, the police got unjustly criticized because they did not go into the building that day, but they were being -- doing what they were taught to do. What they had been trained to do.
Well, since Columbine, I know when I go out and present, I can't tell you the number of people that thank me because of the lessons learned just from the protocol being used. Now, first responders, the first officer on staff is immediately going in. Now, we saw something happening at Arapahoe high school back in 2013, where the school resource officer immediately engaged with the shooter, and unfortunately, Claire Davis lost her life, but lives were saved because of the protocol changing.
And I think back to April 20th, 1999. The only drills we really did at Columbine were fire drills. Well now, kids from the time they enter elementary school are doing some type of emergency training in which, you know, whether it be run, hide, fight, lock out, lockdown. And so these kids, they are growing up with this. We have to improve ways to make sure that if this does happen, and when it does happen, these kids are trained and know what to do and how to react, not only students, but staff members, and I think that's the important thing. And we can't just rest on our laurels. I think we saw what happened at Sandy Hook when they thought they had everything in place, but they never anticipated on someone shooting through the glass windows to get into the building.
[16:46:16] CABRERA: It's like hindsight is always 20/20. And we learn sadly from all of these experiences. And we did hear from a lot of these kids, these survivors of the most recent shooting there in Florida, them talking about the drills they had been doing to know what to do in case of an active shooter, and they did jump into action and responding once they realized what was happening.
But right now, the pain is just so raw for this community. What can you say to the people who are grieving in Florida right now about how they are going to be able to pick themselves up after such a devastating, horrific tragedy?
DEANGELIS: Well, Columbine, I think, represents resiliency, resolve heart. And the piece that I would give to them is it's a marathon and not a sprint. And I could pick up and say right now everything is going to be great, and I would be lying. There is going to be some tough days. And I know at Columbine, we would take giant steps forward and something would happen and there would be setbacks.
Now, I would be willing to bet that there will be another school shooting, unfortunately, that's going to set them back, or there's going to be something else that happened in their community. But they need to understand they are not in this journey alone. Unfortunately, I made a comment 19 years ago that I joined a club that no one wants to be a member. And they are part of this club, but I have been reaching out to Florida. I reached out to Kentucky a few years ago. And we can help them through.
Shaun Graves, who spoke before I, talks about what he is going through as a former student. And there are so many people from Columbine willing to reach out because when we tell them we know what you are feeling. We really do know because we were there. But I look at where we are 19 years later, we are really representing hope and we will always remember the 13 who lost their lives. We had a motto, a time to remember and a time for hope. And I think that's the thing that we can offer to Parkland, Florida.
CABRERA: I want you to listen to what the President said after this tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. Later this month, I will be meeting with the nation's governors and attorney generals, where making our schools and our children safer will be our top priorities. It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Everybody agrees with that statement, make a difference. W are hearing from these students. We are hearing from the grieving mother of one of the victims who lost her live in this recent tragedy saying take action. Do something, do something, do something. What do you say to the President and members of Congress who have the power to change laws?
DEANGELIS: What I would hope is what he said in his statement, we need to come together to make a difference. I'm hoping that these legislators can cross the aisle and do what's best for the kids. If that means tougher gun laws, then they need to cross the aisle. Right now, we keep hearing time and time again what needs to be done, but then this argument is taking place. I'm hoping what we have to do, as members of this great country, is we need to all come together. Because there are kids, and our kids are our most precious commodity.
So I hope when the President talks about this, we need to do the things I mentioned earlier, as he mentioned. Mental health, we have to look at the loopholes in the gun laws and all these things come together because they are all of our kids. And just when those kids, those 17 died, those kids were just part of that Columbine family. We know what they are doing. And I think it's time that we need to stand up just like those kids from Florida stated up. We need to change. We lost our friends. Enough is enough. And we have to stand up and say let's move forward and make these changes and just not give lip service.
[16:50:31] CABRERA: Frank DeAngelis, thank you very much.
DEANGELIS: Thank you so much.
CABRERA: We want to remember and honor the victims of this mass shooting during our shows this afternoon. We want to show you the faces and the names of each of the people who were killed.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
[16:55:06] CABRERA: One of the most decorated, certainly the most famous female downhill skier, Lindsey Vonn, came to Pyeongchang hoping to begin her comeback last night. She was favored to win the super-g event, but heartbreak. I mean, she didn't crash or anything. But she didn't medal. She ended up in sixth place.
Last month, Vonn told us she hoped the spirit of her grandfather who recently passed away will help her ski to a medal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY VONN, U.S. OLYMPIC SKIER: It was a huge loss to me and my family. But I think about him all the time, especially when I'm racing. And I feel closer to him when I'm skiing. Now I hope I can win for him and I hope I can make him proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Vonn skidded near the end of her run. As we showed you she bowed her head in visible disappointment. About her grandfather, she said he was supposed to help me. I was like what happened, grandpa? Why did we not ski better? But it's not over for Vonn. She has two more events next week.
Now the women's bobsled team from Jamaica had all the drama of cool runnings and got a much need boost after their driving coach quit. They were in need of a bobsled, apparently, and they got it from a beer company. Their one and only sled again disappeared, so stepped in brewer red stripe, tweeting this. No bobsled, no problem. If you need a new ride, put it on red stripe's tab. Safe to say red stripe saved the day there.
Coming up, a Russian shadow company sent in to influence the 2016 election. A slew of indictments in the Mueller probe, and the President's own national security adviser now saying Russian meddling is now undeniable.
Next hour, how the election interference was pulled off and details on Mueller's new indictment against 13 Russians.
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