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President Trump is turning that tragedy into a political excuse to lash out at the FBI, President has plans this week to have some sort of listening session with students and teachers, Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida are demanding change following last week's shooting massacre that claims 17 lives. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired February 18, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[16:00:05] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Happening now in the NEWSROOM.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are a strong second amendment person, you need to slow down and look at reasonable things that can be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this case, there are a lot of warning signs out there and for people in Parkland and all across the country have every reason to be grief and incredibly furious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop using this for politics and come to Parkland to talk to these kids.
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm sorry that you have grown up in a generation that has only known violence and there's no sanctuary. There's no place of refuge. The schools aren't safe. The churches aren't safe, the concerts.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: The tragedy that we saw in Parkland is unspeakable. And all over this country, parents are scared to death of what might happen when they send their kids to school. This problem is not going to be easily solved. Nobody has a magic solution.
WHITFIELD: CNN NEWSROOM starts now.
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WHITFIELD: All right. Hello, again, everyone. And thank you so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.
We are following breaking news, brand new video just into CNN that appears to show the Florida school shooter walking casually to McDonald's moments after last week's massacre. Authority say, the gunman stopped at Walmart to buy a drink immediately after the shooting then he walked to McDonald's where he sat down for a while. He was arrested shortly afterwards when a police officer saw him walking and he fit the description.
President Trump is turning that tragedy into a political excuse to lash out at the FBI tweeting very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. There is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
In a barrage of 13 angry tweets last night and again today, the President is raging at the FBI. His own national security adviser and Democrats blaming everyone but Russia following the indictment of 13 Russians accused of meddling in the 2016 election. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle criticizing the President's tweet blaming the FBI.
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REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We can't stop simply by blaming the FBI. We also have to do something about this rather immense threat facing the country from so many weapons of such high power that are accessible to people with serious mental health problems.
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WHITFIELD: Let's start our coverage on these developments. CNN Boris Sanchez is traveling with the President and joins us now live from West Palm Beach, Florida.
So Boris, we are learning the President has plans this week to have some sort of listening session with students and teachers. What do we know about those invited or what will be discussed exactly?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not much, Fred. The White House putting out a schedule this afternoon saying the President would be hosting this listening session with students and teachers on Wednesday, but not really detailing exactly who he is going to be meeting. These high school students are from here in Florida, if, in fact, they are students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas senior high school in Parkland which is only about 40 miles from where we are now close to Mar-a-Lago. It is the state where he is spending the long weekend.
The President did mentioned the shooting on Wednesday in his twitter barrage that started last night and went in to early this morning. But it was only one of many tweets. His main focus was the Russia investigation. The President attacking some of his favorite targets and Democrats in the media. And even going as far as to undercut his national security adviser H.R. McMaster, someone that he is long been rumored to have serious disagreements with. It all stems from a comment that H.R. McMaster made at a security conference in Munich, Germany, over the weekend.
McMaster was asked about the statements that were made by deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein on Friday and presenting his indictment. Here's what McMaster said. Listen.
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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.
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SANCHEZ: And here is what the President wanted to clarify, his tweet about H.R. McMaster. He writes quote "general McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians. And that the only collusion was between Russia and crooked Hillary, the DNC and the Dems."
Remember the dirty dossier, uranium, speeches, emails and the Podesta company as a point of fact, Fred. That statement that was put out by Rod Rosenstein and the indictment doesn't mention collusion with Hillary Clinton at all. It doesn't mention the dossier, uranium speeches. In fact, it says the Russians were trying to disparage Hillary Clinton to help promote Donald Trump as a candidate for president.
One last thing that we have not seen from President Trump at all in any of these tweets or in the official White House statement that was put out on Friday after the indictment came out, a condemnation of Russia that is strong, one that possibly warns or deters Vladimir Putin from interfering in future elections. We haven't really seen that from the President yet. Something that some Republicans have called for, Fred.
[16:05:15] WHITFIELD: All right. And Boris, we are also learning some details now about how Donald Trump is spending his time there at Mar-a-Lago, not playing golf, spending time with his sons Don Jr. and Eric and even perhaps even dropping into a party? What more can you tell us?
SANCHEZ: That's right, Fred. Sources are telling my colleagues, CNN's Kevin Liptak, that the President has decided to spend the weekend indoors in part because it would be bad optics to go golfing after the tragedy last week being so close to here. The President wanting to show respect to some of the victims and their families.
But he is essentially spending the weekend inside watching cable news and speaking to his sons who sources tell us have been urging him to respond to some of the allegations being made against him in recent weeks and to take on the FBI in light of the revelations in the indictment.
The President, obviously, responding through twitter again today. We understand that shortly after he paid a visit to the hospital and the sheriff's station on Friday, he dropped by a studio 54-themed party at Mar-a-Lago before going to bed. He also stopped at a gala there last night for a very short while before heading into his private residence at around 10:00 p.m. We first started seeing those very emotional tweets by the President around 11:00 last night, if you recall, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez, thank you so much. So for all the President's bluster about the FBI, not everyone is
ready to put the full blame on the agents.
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GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: I think it's an absurd statement, OK? Absurd. The fact of the matter is, the FBI apparently made a terrible mistake and people should be held accountable. But we need leadership out of the executive. This is a great opportunity for common sense steps that can be taken.
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WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me now are CNN Presidential historian and former director of the Nixon Presidential library, Tim Naftali. And CNN political analyst Patrick Healy.
All right. Good to see you both.
Tim, governor Kasich, you know, just called out the President's leadership. Do you agree?
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, yes. Look. I mean, we have failed the students of our country. And when I say "we," I mean adults. I mean, people who have been discussing these issues since Sandy Hook. We, as a people, need to figure out a way to respond. It's not good enough anymore to say, well, we will find the time to figure out why one element of American exceptionalism is that more of our children die from gunfire in schools than in any country in certainly the western world. I mean, a country that is not, you know, in collapse.
So Kasich's - Governor Kasich's point is the following. President Trump has enormous credibility with people who feel that any gun control is part of a slippery slope that will lead to the elimination of their guns. Anybody who has studied the way in which governor control knows that is not the point of gun control. The assault weapons ban is to get rid of assault weapons, AR-15s, like the one Mr. Cruz used.
So what Mr. Kasich, the governor is saying to the President, you can move the needle. Your people will believe you when you say, we don't need assault weapons around sand on the streets. Let's get rid of them. That's what the point is. And if the President is unwilling to do it, it's hard to imagine anybody who is going to move the folks in gun culture, America, at this point.
WHITFIELD: And then, Patrick, you know, in a tweet, the President linked the shooting in Florida to the FBI being too busy working on the Russia investigation. And now we have heard from the CNN reporting, you heard our Boris Sanchez there in Florida saying that, you know, sources are saying that the President has been spending time in Mar-a-Lago with his sons, Eric and Don Jr. who have encouraged him to go after the FBI hard. So is this a strategy we are seeing from the President, you know, channel the anger of what happened in Florida at the FBI agency? PATRICK HEALY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: yes. Fred, this is a clear
sign yet that President Trump has really decided to go to war and will continue to go to war with the FBI. And in situations like this one, when you have an intelligence agency that does make a mistake, usually there is an acknowledgment by the person of that directive to look at what went wrong, but also context that is for all the work the intelligence agency does to keep Americans safe. Instead, you mind a tweet storm President Trump being able to sort of thread in the FBI not seeing crews and not acting on the intelligence it had and bringing Russian collusion into that.
I mean, this is a President we may sometimes talk about him being disciplined or, you know, just sort of firing off tweets left and right. But really, he has a very disciplined concerted strategy, which is, it appears to undermine the FBI and intelligence agencies that he believes are hurting ultimately the legitimacy of his presidency that are suggesting that his campaign colluded with Russia and Russia influenced the outcome of the election.
And ultimately, you know, the Mueller probe. You hear the White House over and over that they are cooperating with the Mueller probe. But President Trump sort of been conflating the FBI and Robert Mueller and basically sort of suggesting that if they weren't so obsessed with Russia, they would be able to prevent these mass shootings. And the reality is he is not talking about guns. He is not talking about the issues that a lot of students and people in Florida want to talk about.
[16:11:13] WHITFIELD: And in fact, kind of avoiding the gun word during his address on Friday. His initial tweets, instead, you know, borrowing your languages can start its strategy about mental health. And that this is the problem behind the school shooting. Just listen to the President when asked directly about when or if he will address guns when he was visiting a hospital in Florida.
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TRUMP: Did incredible things. Thank you vey much.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do our gun laws need to be paying, Mr. President?
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WHITFIELD: So Tim, he avoided addressing that question and talking about guns, you know, throughout the weekend. He has a listening session with students and parents this week on Wednesday. How will he will able to avoid the issue of guns when talking about this shooting.
NAFTALI: Well, it's time for a lot of listening on the part of people who are making the very, very, very tough argument that the second amendment permits the ownership of any kind of gun.
Let's keep in mind why we want leadership from our President. Our President is supposed to represent all of us, not just the people, not just the counties that voted for him. Time and again, this President has chosen to be the leader of only the red counties, of only the Trump counties, to be sectarian.
When we have a national tragedy as we just had, this moment of when a leader is needed to -- leadership is needed everywhere. It's not always from the top. But the President can pull it together and give us a sense of mission and purpose and sympathy. And Mr. Trump time and time again shows himself incapable of doing that.
It is always all about him. It's all about his power, how much people like him or don't like him. It is never about the people who are suffering. And that is what we need now. We need a leader who understands what empathy is and can show it.
WHITFIELD: And Patrick, speaking of leadership, you heard a lot of these young people immediately after the shooting and then you heard them at the anti-gun rally there in Ft. Lauderdale yesterday. Extraordinary. And now there is a planned march calling for a stricter gun control, calling for some action. And we will see that in later on in March.
Do you see that these young people, just might be more influential when it comes to creating or crafting some sort of change from Congress or even the White House, unlike what we have seen post other horrific school shootings?
HEALY: Right. And Fred, this is an important sort of cultural moment to watch. I mean, you were seeing a lot of energy from these young students who are pretty eloquent about basically saying that the old generation, that the adult generation has failed both Democrats, both Republicans and Democrats, people taking money from the NRA, and they are using language that frankly has kind of a social media energy around it. Sort of this idea of badge of shame.
Whether President Trump and Republicans and Democrats can really be shamed on the gun issue is a big open question. But it is a cultural moment to watch for. The reality is that the NRA in 2016 spent more money on ads supporting Donald Trump than any other candidate, about $11 million. They spent nearly $20 million against Hillary Clinton in ads.
And as everyone knows, we have seen so many members of Congress on the Sunday shows this morning, sort of suggesting they are in favor of common sense gun reform. But no one sort of saying, well, yes, it is going to be on the calendar on the certain date or this is how we are going to get a pass. The reality is this and we can't be naive here. The NRA is still in unbelievable powerful and financial Force in American politics. And whether these sort of eloquent students in Florida and different cities can change the conversation or exert shame and pressure is absolutely something to watch for. We have not seen that quite yet, but I don't think we can be naive to say that just sort of, you know, sentiment and feeling maybe enough here. We got to see.
[16:15:38] WHITFIELD: All right. Patrick Healy, Tim Naftali, thank you so much.
HEALY: Thanks, Fred. NAFTALI: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: And we are following breaking news video just in the CNN showing the school shooter walking to McDonald's just moments after the massacre, authority say. The shooter stopped at Walmart to buy a drink immediately after the shooting, then walked to McDonald's where he sat down for a while. This video is from the building right next to that McDonald's. And this young man was arrested shortly afterwards.
CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us right now. He is at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school.
So what is it like there? I see now the rods have opened. There is traffic. What else is happening?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me just talk a little bit more about that video, Fred. Just to put up a time comes, actually things. So go back to Wednesday, 2:28 is where according to the sheriff the alleged gunman here, Nikolas Cruz, who left the campus. He fled with all the other students who were fleeing out of horror. He mixed in with them. And then for about an hour and ten minutes, he is not really nowhere he is and the authorities are looking for him.
Well, this video pinpoints a moment in that time. This is about 3:00. In other words, maybe a half an hour later. And when he is spotted on this surveillance video. And as you say he was going from a subway and the Walmart across the streets over to the McDonald's from this video captures that moment.
So it is critical to understand the whole timeframe of the day and what he was doing in the time before he was apprehended.
As to the investigation, something else is new and that CNN has obtained documents and information that come from the Florida and department of children and families. And what this outlines is that in 2016, September, Nikolas Cruz posted on snapchat something that (INAUDIBLE) disturbing that in fact state welfare investigators got involved and what it was is that he showed himself cutting his arms. And he also talked about wanting to get a gun.
So the investigators go to his home. They checked the environment and how he is bring raised. They talked to his mom, who was alive at the time, talked to him and they also talked to mental health experts who had handled the case. Bottom line is after two months of investigation, they deemed that he was a low risk to, you know, harming himself or harming anyone else. So it is another entity that got involved. Knew there was problems but it just didn't seem serious enough to take any direct action there.
As to what is happening now? The streets are open and this is the first time the public has been allowed to come in. And of course, it has become an attraction in many ways. For a lot of people they want to come and see what the news has been talking about. Some want to pay their respects. There is a growing monument of flowers and balloons but also crosses, one for each of the 17 victims that were murdered on Wednesday.
WHITFIELD: All that while at least two laid to rest today. Funeral services are still scheduled. It is ongoing.
All right. Martin Savidge, thank you so much.
All right. Coming up, students who is lived through the terrifying shooting are speaking out demanding action from lawmakers and the President of the United States. We will hear directly from them next.
[16:22:44] WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
Students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida are demanding change following last week's shooting massacre that claims 17 lives. Here are some of the passionate pleas to politicians.
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EMMA GONZALEZ, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: If you don't anything to prevent this from coming, from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number of worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you. To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My main concerns are funeral, gun control and whether or not I'm going to be shot wherever I go. My innocence, our innocence has been taken from us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me right now, survivors Emma Gonzalez who you saw at the microphone and Alex Wind. Good to see you both, sadly under these circumstances.
So after the tragedy, you are now in this moment where your voice is being heard loud and clear. So Emma, do you feel confident that this volume you all are bringing will indeed bring change?
GONZALEZ: I do feel confident in that. We are incredibly loud, shrill-voice kids. And it is hard for our parents to ignore us. It's going to be impossible for the country to ignore us. And since we have been put on this national platform in such a short period of time, we are going to be -- listen, everybody is listening to us all of a sudden. And we want to thank you, guys, for having us on the show.
WHITFIELD: Well, we are glad you are able to be with us.
And, you know, Alex, the White House is planning a listening session this week with students and parents. We don't know who the students or the parents are, but would you want to be a part of that Wednesday listening session?
ALEX WIND, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: You know, I would love to be a part of it. However, there is a town hall planned for Wednesday, which President Trump was asked to be at and he denied that invitation to plan his own town hall, which is absolutely absurd.
WHITFIELD: So what is your feeling about what could come from the listening session with the President. Of course, it is simultaneous to the CNN town hall, the CNN town hall scheduled before we had learned about this White House listening session. But what are you hoping to be achieved in either form of discussion or listening?
[16:25:24] WIND: Well, I can say right now, I won't be at the listening session. I will be at the town hall. I believe that most of my colleagues will be at the town hall and not at the listening session. If Donald Trump wants to listen to us, he should have taken the first invitation. And we are not going to come to him. He needs to come to us -- you go.
GONZALEZ: The fact that he has organized this just proves he is scared of us and he doesn't want to have to face us. And that he wants to try divide us. That he wants us to have to make a choice between and the place where we invited him to be in the first place.
WIND: And we are hoping by this protest, if you would, of this listening, he will see that we are serious about this, you know. We are ready for action and we are ready for change.
WIND: We keep asking him time and time again to do the right thing and keeps not doing the right things. So we are going to do our best to ignore the things that he does wrong and maintain the things that we are doing right. And we ask that you do the same.
WHITFIELD: You both are saying some remarkable things.
And Emma, you know, you directly singled out the President at that rally yesterday. And you said shame on you for taking the NRA money. And at the same time, you know, you sent the message to other politicians. But I heard from one of the other students that you are hoping this can be a clean slate moment from this point forward for politicians to stop taking NRA money. And if this is a clean slate moment, you know, for those politicians, would you be willing for it to be a clean slate for other politicians including the President of the United States that you feel have not been listening to you up until this point?
GONZALEZ: I feel like that clean slate moment has been given. And from today on, from this morning on, this is when the clean slate has began for them. And President Trump didn't maintain his clean state. And we are quite upset about that. And we want to, also, reiterate the fact that this - we re giving all of this people who are being funded by the NRA a second chance to take back their support for the National Rifle Association, which supports the murder, senseless slaughter of thousands of children over the years. And we want everybody to understand that we are giving these people a second chance. But if they are not going to take the second chance, then I don't even know what more we can do for that.
WIND: I can guarantee that on this November, the midterm elections, any candidate that has taken money from the NRA will not be receive a single vote from any resident of Parkland, Florida.
WHITFIELD: And I know Emma Gonzalez and Alex Wind, you and your fellow, you know, students mean what you say. I know you will wanting to your words into actions too. Not just this Wednesday at the town hall meeting, but you are scheduled March 24th and other mid-March planned gathering in Washington D.C. as your direct messaging to the White House to Congress to the nation. And so many people are applauding your courage and your poised under extremely sad, heartbreaking circumstance.
Emma Gonzalez, Alex Wind, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
GONZALEZ: Thank you so much for having us.
And don't miss a very special town hall this Wednesday, Survivors of the Florida school shooting, Alex and Emma included, will be joining CNN to talk about this tragedy and the action that they are demanding our of Washington. That is this Wednesday 9:00 eastern, only on CNN.
WHITFIELD: Maybe the tipping point issue for a loyal Trump base. CNN's Sara Sidner takes us to a Christian church gathering where immigration is on many worshippers' minds.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Basti Lopez is a DACA recipient. Isaac Felix is an American citizen, both are of Mexican heritage. They came together in San Bernardino to take part in a religious gathering normally held in Guadalajara. But for the first time ever, the light of the world church has brought it to the U.S.
Faith has brought these two together, but some of their political views couldn't be further apart. Is Donald Trump a good president in your view?
ISAAC FELIX, WORSHIPPER: I believe he is. I believe he is. I believe Donald Trump is actually trying to improve this great country. I believe that, you know, he's doing everything that he can to improve our immigration laws.
SIDNER: From immigration to job creation, for Felix, Mr. Trump's presidency has inspired hope. For Lopez, it invokes a totally different feeling. Fear.
BASTI LOPEZ, WORSHIPPER: When President Trump came in and he started saying all these different things about immigration, there was a fear all over the United States.
SIDNER: From the president's words to the wall, both say the rhetoric has energized them.
DONALD TRUMP, ORESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wall will be a great help and it will happen. Believe me.
SIDNER: Are you in agreement with a wall going up on the border?
LOPEZ: I mean, personally --
SIDNER: As a priority?
LOPEZ: -- I feel, if we look at it economically, I don't think it's the best investment. It's definitely going to cost us a lot of taxes, that's for sure.
SIDNER: Felix says there is absolutely a need for a fence or wall.
FELIX: -- you know, he wants the wall. I personally have lived, you know, living in Arizona. I have seen and I have worked at border patrol stations out in remote areas. There is no protection. All they have are the spikes that prevent vehicles from driving through.
SIDNER: But Felix and Lopez can agree on a few things, such as their reaction to the White House chief of staff's comments about dreamers failing to sign up for DACA.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The difference between 690,000 (ph) and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn't sign up.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SIDNER: What do you think about what he said?
LOPEZ: What I think is that, you know, I honestly feel that that's just very rude to be saying and demonizing people like that.
FELIX: I believe that comment was wrong on the part of chief of staff John Kelly. You know, he shouldn't have made that comment.
SIDNER: And when it comes to dreamers, they like more than 80 percent of Americans polled are in support of allowing dreamers to stay in the U.S.
FELIX: You know, we have our political disagreements, but one thing that we've been taught is to love one another.
SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, San Bernardino.
WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now to discuss all of this, Pastor A.R. Bernard, founder of the Christian Cultural Center. Immigration is on the table this week, evangelical leaders pushing President Trump to take action. Good to see you. Do you believe this is a turning point, potentially, this week?
A.R. BERNARD, FOUNDER, CHRISTIAN CULTURAL CENTER: A turning point? I don't know about that, Fredricka. We have had so many turning points over the last 18 months of the campaign and while he is in office. I think that the only one thing influences the president and that is political expediency. And when it comes to DACA, I hope, because once I found out about the letter, I signed on to be a part of it. And it is my hope that somehow, you know, he'll understand the importance of this going forward.
You know, especially around these evangelicals, who are trying to support it. Evangelicals are not monolithic, by the way. They're all over the political and social spectrum. All right. And as they gather to push something forward, they have to be very careful that they're not compromising their moral authority in the process, befriending this kind of president.
WHITFIELD: So the president has said he wants to tackle immigration, he wants do something about DACA, he wants to do something for dreamers. We've heard that from him in a variety of ways. Am I hearing from you that you don't believe him?
BERNRAD: You know, I can't help but be skeptical because the reason I got onboard with the advisory council is because he said he wanted to do something about religious freedom, which he has done a degree in terms of signing that executive order concerning the Johnson amendment. But he also said an inner city initiative. And these are the things that, you know, compelled me to be a part of it, but I didn't see any of that develop so I'm skeptical.
WHITFIELD: Usually the office of the presidency also means that the president is a leader of morality for this country. And that is being applied here on the issue of immigration. We're also seeing his leadership and the issues of morality as it pertains to these recent, you know, stepping down of two staffers on the issue of domestic abuse. How would you grade this president on the issues of morality?
[16:35:00] BERNARD: I think I'm giving him a failing grade and problematic to that is the evangelical community because in 2011, there was a poll done by the Brookings, and in 2011, 64 percent of white evangelicals believe that immoral personal act disqualified a political candidate. Five years later, 2016, that number dropped to 49 percent.
WHITFIELD: But this president won a lot of support from the evangelical community.
BERNARD: Yes, but what they're allowing, the mulligan, what they're allowing, the past, it means that they are lowering their standard. Ironically, on the other side of that, a poll for those who are unaffiliated to any religion, they poll 6 percent, all right, in 2011 and in 2016. They went down to 60 percent, just a 3 percent drop. So what is it? Are those who are religiously unaffiliated more moral and have a higher moral standard than we who supposedly present morality?
WHITFIELD: So you were on Trump's evangelical advisory board? What was the lure on being on that board and what happened that you have since left it?
BERNARD: You know, you want to believe that you can make a difference. That having a seat at the table, you have a voice, you can help to shape policy. But, unfortunately, again, this president doesn't seem to take advice unless it is birthed out of political expediency. So I had to make a decision.
And with Charlottesville, of course, he didn't represent a core of values that could quickly make a decision on a moral basis so I had to pull away and let go because I didn't want it to be identified with whatever the bottom is going to be. And I don't think we've hit bottom with this president yet.
WHITFIELD: Did you tangle with the idea of how potentially helpful or useful your role could be that as an adviser, that you could bring your ideas and thoughts to the table, even if you felt that it wasn't necessarily in agreement with the president, that perhaps that could be influential by being at the table, being in the room?
BERNARD: I was willing to sacrifice the reality that there would be disagreements across the board. But I was willing to do that believing that there would be a discussion, a conversation, and movement with regard to specifically his inner city initiative. I haven't seen anything materialize. And we are what, 18 months beyond a campaign and the first year of presidency. I haven't seen anything happen.
WHITFIELD: You don't sound very hopeful?
BERNARD: I'm a man of faith so I am believing the best, but this president makes it difficult to do so.
WHITFIELD: All right. Pastor A.R. Bernard, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
BERNARD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, the very people responsible for the devises we are all glued to every day are now trying to get us unhooked? Hear why, next.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: All right. Large tech companies have come under criticism for not doing enough to deal with the social impacts of their new technologies. And now a group of former tech employees are teaming up to battle the negative consequences of the social media platforms that they helped create. Joining me now to explain all of this is Laurie Segall, CNN's senior tech correspondent. OK, Laurie, what is this all about?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: This is a huge movement happening. You go behind closed doors in Silicon Valley, a lot of folks are sitting there saying, what did we do? So they're trying to come up with a solution. You have former Google and Apple employees, Facebook employees, the guy who created the like button is involved in this and they've created the center for humane technology. So, what they're trying to do is actually raise awareness, they're
creating an ad campaign called the truth about tech. They're going to work with tech companies, go in and try to have ethical designs to teach tech companies how to actually create products that don't necessarily addict us. We'll see if that happens.
I spoke to -- I know - I spoke to Tristan Harris who's leading the movement. He is a former Google employee and I asked him why Silicon Valley is talking about this now. Take a listen.
TRISTAN HARRIS, FORMER GOOGLE EMPLOYEE: People are realizing that technology is a political actor. It's one of the largest and perhaps the largest cultural force in the world because 1.5 billion people use YouTube. That's about the number of (INAUDIBLE) followers of Islam. These products are completely unaccountable to human interests. People in the tech industry know all of this is happening now and so it's now just a matter of getting honest about how we fix it.
SEGALL: What do you tell parents who don't exactly know how much screen time their child should have, who worry their kids are addicted? So what do you tell parents who are asking that?
HARRIS: I think it's the simple things like right now if you're listening to this and you're a parent, turn off all notifications on your phones or your kids' phones except for when a human being, a person, wants your attention. So that's one simple change you could make today.
Another one that has become very popular just recently is turning your phone to gray scale. I don't know if you can see that, but you make your phone gray, it takes out all those (INAUDIBLE) like slot machine rewards. It has a huge impact on dealing like your bonus, more like a tool and less like an addictive substance.
SEGALL: Do you think we can put the genie back inside the bottle?
HARRIS: I don't think it's about putting it back in the bottle, but redesigning the genie to come out. I think this is game over unless we fix it. I think there will be half (INAUDIBLE) see because I actually think when you realize that every time you open up that blue Facebook icon, you just activated a super computer that's going to play chess against your mind to figure out what's the perfect thing I can show you?
And it's only getting better and better and better at doing that. And when you realize that you're bringing a knife like, you know, million n (INAUDIBLE) evolutionary hardware, you know, up to that against a super computer, you're going to lose.
SEGALL: Pretty strong words. I don't think, Fred, that people sometimes know what they're up against. Every product -- the colors, the words you see, they were all [16:45:00] designed by engineers who want you to pick up your phone.
It's called growth engineering. This is something they're great at. So I think it's great that we're having a conversation, but it's a hard conversation to have.
WHITFIELD: Oh, it is. I mean, it's a -- there are multiple industries that have sprouted as a result, right? So you're plugged into a lot of tech people, Silicon Valley, what are people behind closed doors really saying about this? And perhaps even admitting about their own problems, addictions --
SEGALL: You know what is so funny to me, I'll talk to someone like, I just got back from a digital detox retreat. My kids were all going away from tech for a little bit. Yes, the founder of twitter just came back from a meditation retreat. So a lot of them are sending their children to schools without tech. That's not going to solve the problem that we all have. That's why we have to have this conversation.
And you know, you have -- so I think the Center for Humane Technology, something they're going to be looking at is potential regulation. There are going to be these ad campaigns that we are going to see all over, talking about the dangers of addiction to technology. So I think it's going to have to be a cultural force.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. So, do you think that eventually it could lead to even legislation? I mean, or is this strictly corporations taking personal responsibility?
SEGALL: Well, it's interesting. You want them to take the responsibility. There's a business incentive to get you to pick up your phone as much as possible. You would have to fundamentally change the model that Facebook goes off when it comes to advertising because we're in this attention economy, which eyeballs translate to money so, you want them to do this. And they want to do this, to a degree.
But what are the investors going to say? Many of these companies are public companies. So, you have folks in Washington paying attention. I think this last year, what happened with the election and the weaponization of Facebook to upset democracy, you have people in Washington paying attention and putting pressure on these tech companies. So we'll see. Stay tuned.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh, getting unhooked. That's going to be tough for everybody. Laurie Segall --
SEGALL: Myself included.
WHITFIELD: -- I know, good to see you.
SEGALL: You too.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much. All right, we'll be right back.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: All right. Hello again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York. Patty Hearst was the victim of one of America's most bizarre kidnapping. Well tonight, CNN's new original series, "The Radical Story of Patty Hearst" sheds light on her transformation from heiress to terrorist and back again. Here's a preview.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): Before the O.J. Simpson trial captivated a nation, there was Patty Hearst. As the granddaughter of publishing giant, William Randolph Hearst, her kidnapping in 1974 considered the crime of the century.
CAROL POGASH, FORMER REPORTER, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINMER: It was so extraordinary.
JARRETT (voice-over): Born into wealth and power, Hearst grew up in Hillsborough, a quite affluent suburb of San Francisco. For college, she headed to Berkeley where she walked the streets that bore her name. She lived off-campus with her boyfriend, Steven Weed, a former teacher at her high school.
It was the couple's engagement announcement in her family's newspaper, The San Francisco Examiner, which first drew the attention of a small radical terrorist group that called itself the Symbionese Liberation Army or SLA.
STEVEN WEED, HEARST's FORMER FIANCE: They pushed me back, shouting get your face on the floor.
JARRETT (voice-over): Hearst was kidnapped from her apartment by the SLA on February 4th, 1974.
BILL HARRIS, SLA MEMBER (voice-over): Patricia Hearst was a symbolic target. She was an heiress.
JARRETT (voice-over): Locked in a closet for nearly two months, Hearst says she was blindfolded, beaten, and raped.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: What would it do to a 19-year-old mind?
PATTY HEARST, KIDNAP VICTIM: Well, it just completely, it was gone.
JARRETT (voice-over): Hearst re-appeared in April of 1974 on surveillance footage, holding a rifle. She and the SLA robbing a bank in San Francisco.
POGASH: She was still a kid. Patty Hearst was a survivor.
JARRETT (voice-over): The heiress turned terrorist was no longer seen as a victim, but a fugitive. Patty Hearst emerged from the closet as Tonya. Nineteen months after she was kidnapped, Hearst was arrested along with the few remaining members of the SLA. Six others had died months earlier in a blazing shoot-out with the Los Angeles police, broadcast live on TV, very new for television. Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison for her role in robbing
Hibernia Bank. The public remains divided as to whether Hearst was a victim of brainwashing or a willing participant.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, AUTHOR OF "AMERCIAN HEIRESS": She was on the run for a year and a half with many opportunities to leave and escape and she didn't.
JARRETT (voice-over): Yet she would serve just under two years in prison before President Carter commuted her sentence in 1979.
POGASH: Is there any doubt that none of this would have happened if she hadn't been kidnapped.
JARRETT (voice-over): After Hearst was released, she married the man tasked with protecting her during her trial. President Clinton issued her a full pardon in 2001.
WHITFIELD: That was Laura Jarrett reporting. And CNN has repeatedly reached out to Patty Hearst. She declined to comment for this series.
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. That's the subject of this week's "State of the Cartoonian."
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (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.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT NEWMAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER (voice-over): Like, I was haunted by tweets every single day. Like, what is he going to tweet next?
TAPPER (voice-over): Omarosa is appearing on
[16:55:00] this season's "Celebrity Big Brother."
NEWMAN (voice-over): All of the people around him attacked me. It was like, keep her away. Don't let her talk to him. It's like, Ivanka's there, Jared's there.
TAPPER (voice-over): And with a reality star sitting in the Oval Office, the whole White House is almost like a reality TV show lineup.
TRUMP (voice-over): You know, I'm a ratings person.
TAPPER (voice-over): This week on "The Bachelor: White House edition," communications director Hope Hicks seems to have given the wrong guy a rose.
HOPE HICKS, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR (voice-over): Thank you! Thank you!
TAPPER (voice-over): Former Trump campaign aide turned FBI informant, George Padopoulos, would be a perfect fit on "The Mole." Meanwhile, on "Keeping Up With The Kushners," forgotten flame, music legend Quincy Jones this week claims he once dated the power daughter, Ivanka.
IVANKA TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR (voice-over): My father values talent.
TAPPER (voice-over): And 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.
TRUMP (voice-over): You're fired!
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much for joining me this afternoon. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of the "CNN Newsroom" starts right after this.