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Family Who Took in Killer Speaks Out; Services to Begin for Two Victims of Shooting; Rex Tillerson Opens Up on Relations with Trump; "Black Panther" Shatters Box Office Records; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 19, 2018 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[10:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, new details about the Florida school killer. CNN sources say he obtained at least 10 firearms, 10, now, all of them rifles, largely within the last year. We're also learning more from the family who most recently provided a home to the individual. That family now speaking out for the first time since he killed 17 people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was he like in your home?

KIMBERLY SNEAD, TOOK IN SHOOTER AFTER HIS ADOPTIVE MOTHER DIED: Nothing like they portray on television or in the media, in the newspapers.

JAMES SNEAD, TOOK IN SHOOTER AFTER HIS ADOPTIVE MOTHER DIED: Everything everybody seems to know we didn't know.

K. SNEAD: We didn't know.

J. SNEAD: We had rules and he followed every rule to the tee. He was very polite. He didn't -- he seemed normal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: CNN's Rosa Flores in Parkland, Florida, right now. We're also learning much more about all of this -- Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, good morning. And this is reporting from our colleague Evan Perez, authorities here believe that the suspect had 10 firearms.

Now we know that the style of weapon that he used to kill 17 people here was an AR-15 style rifle. It is unclear exactly what these other firearms are and the ATF, of course, trying to trace those weapons, they're trying to figure out where he purchased them.

And then one question that I have is where was he keeping all of these weapons because from the interviews with both "GMA" and "Florida Sun Sentinel," which really takes us into the daily life of the suspect, we've learned a lot. But we've only learned of that one AR-15 style rifle that his host parents said that he had inside the home. Now the father, the host father, believed that he had the only key,

now we know that that's not the case. But they also shared with these media outlets a few other details. They say they never noticed his aggression, they knew he was depressed, and they also noticed a few other odd things, like he didn't know how to use a microwave, so they taught him how to do that. He didn't know how to do laundry.

Now about the reporting that he was aggressive towards animals and cruel towards animals, this host family says that they never saw signs of that. They own two dogs and six cats and if he would have been -- if the suspect would have been aggressive towards those animals, they would have never allowed him inside the home.

And so, John, a lot of new details are emerging and helping police and investigators figure out hopefully soon a motive but, you know, part of that is learning what happened that day.

Now here is what his host family had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

K. SNEAD: I basically -- I went after him, I really wanted to strangle him more than anything and I just -- everything I wanted to say just -- I tried to reserve myself, just really, Nik, really, you know, and yelled at him, and he mumbled something but I didn't hear. And he said -- he had said he was sorry.

J. SNEAD: He said he was sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLORES: Now we're also learning more about the timeline of where the suspect was, at what point in time from surveillance video that was taken next to a McDonald's. Now that video was taken about 30 minutes after he dropped his weapon, blended in and escaped the school that you see behind me.

Again, John, a lot of details that are surfacing as police try to figure out exactly what happened, and probably most importantly at this point is a motive -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Rosa Flores for us in Parkland. Rosa, thanks so much.

Joining me now is Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst.

And Joey, I want to start by talking about this family. Obviously shattered right now. They brought this killer into their house. What were they supposed to have done? Did they do anything wrong? Is that something that law enforcement is now looking into?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think law enforcement, in answer to your question, will look into everything. And certainly the host family and those who were interacting with him know his mental state, know his daily activities were and are, are a good source of information. Clearly the family who he was with did not know a lot about him, which potentially they should have. I don't look to them to have any type of, you know, civil liability or criminal liability.

BERMAN: Right.

[10:35:07] JACKSON: But a lot of information could be gleaned, right? It's like the expression, no good deed goes unpunished here, they are opening up their home and little did they know that this was just a keg just waiting to explode. And so yes, still be valuable and useful -- excuse me -- they will be in terms of the investigation, but they'll be only a small part.

BERMAN: They knew he had a gun. It's unclear whether they knew he had 10 guns, which is CNN's new reporting.

JACKSON: Didn't know about his social media accounts, what he was posting there, which is a lesson for, I guess, all parents. But again, tough and difficult to blame them when he was acting in this way.

BERMAN: And he's not a minor at this point. I mean, you know, he's 18 years old.

JACKSON: Right. Nineteen, and having the ability certainly to understand, to know what he's doing and to be an adult and to make his own decisions. But it is a message that people who are around you, whether it's family, friends, need to be cognizant of your activities so that they can certainly do something about that.

BERMAN: The defense team says that the killer will plead guilty if prosecutors don't seek the death penalty. Where do you see that going?

JACKSON: You know, it's something that is standardly used. You know, what you do. It's a bargaining chip in the event you take it off the table, the defense says to the prosecution and we'll just proceed and we'll plead guilty and we'll move forward. But that doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a plea of guilty.

You know, there is a lot that the prosecution has to uncover here, including consultation with the various families involved. Soul- searching with whether this is the most appropriate course of action, looking at his mental health history to see if a death penalty prosecution in the event they were successful, will he actually get the death penalty? Will it be worth it to do that? So simply because there is an offer on the table does not mean he'll plead guilty and it will be accepted.

BERMAN: We have heard from at least one of the parents that they would like to see the death penalty in this case. Does that weigh?

JACKSON: It does. What happens is certainly, you know, as a prosecutor, what you do is you evaluate what the feelings are by the victims, their families, in the community. What happened here was atrocious, it was heinous, it was outrageous. And so certainly there is a cry, John, for blood in this case. I mean, you cannot -- strictly from a deterrent value -- shoot up schools and just expect, OK, I'll plead guilty and I'll spend the rest of my life in jail and that's the end of it. So I think it will be a factor that the prosecution considers in moving forward.

And quite frankly, John, in terms of this any defense predicated upon this insanity or anything else, I think that will be highly problematic for so many reasons.

BERMAN: Right. Joey Jackson, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.

JACKSON: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Two more families will hold funerals for their teenage children who were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Coral Springs where one of those funerals is going to be held -- Dianne.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John. We have two high school freshmen being laid to rest today, a few miles from where I am. 15-year-old Luke Hoyer's family is gathering for his funeral. His aunt told "People" magazine that, you know, he was just a kid. He was 15, he loved the former Miami Heat star LeBron James and basketball and hanging out with his friends.

Behind me in about half an hour the funeral services for 14-year-old Alaina Petty will begin.

John, her family says that she dedicated her very young life to service, with JROTC, her LDS Church community and even after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, she went with volunteer groups to the most damaged areas to help rebuild in those spots.

BERMAN: And Dianne, I understand there is a petition to bury another student with full military honors.

GALLAGHER: Yes. This would have been somebody who was in JROTC with Alaina. Peter Wang. The 15-year-old according to his classmates held the door open so other students could escape as the shooter was coming at them on Valentine's Day. Of course, he did lose his life in that. They put a petition up on the White House petition Web site asking that he is buried in his uniform with full military honors. So haven't quite got to that 100,000 signatures yet, his funeral is tomorrow.

BERMAN: Yes. Held the door open so that his classmates could survive.

Dianne Gallagher in Coral Springs, thanks so much for being with us.

Join CNN Wednesday night for a special town hall with students and parents affected by the Parkland school shooting. Jake Tapper is going to moderate this event. It's at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

We'll be right back.

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[10:43:28] BERMAN: Normally media shy secretary of state is opening up about everything from his relationship with the president to the North Korea nuclear threat.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. will keep up its maximum pressure approach on Pyongyang but also insists diplomatic efforts will continue until, quote, "the first bomb drops." In this wide ranging interview on "60 Minutes," the secretary of state was also as asked about the conflicting messages that he has had with the president in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, as I said, the president communicates in his own style, his own way, his own words. And from time to time I will ask him, are you changing the policy? Because if we are, obviously I need to know and everyone needs to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you would have thought he would talk to you about changing the policy before he tweeted.

TILLERSON: And to finish the thought, that has never happened. Every time I talk to him, he says, no, the policy hasn't changed. And I said, then I'm good. That's all I need to know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right. I'm joined now by retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, CNN military and diplomatic analyst, former State Department spokesman.

You know, the secretary of state was very proud that policy hasn't been changed without him knowing, but the news there, it seems to me, was that he had to ask, the secretary of state had to ask whether the president was changing policy on Twitter because he didn't know.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Yes, it's stunning, isn't it? That you would think that they would have ironed that stuff out as Margaret rightly asked in her question before the president gets on Twitter and says stuff. I mean, that -- the policymaking process should be deliberate, should be calm, should be measured. It should take time. And then once it's developed and crafted, everybody is on the same sheet of music.

[10:45:02] The problem with the president's tweets is he's off on his own symphony and nobody else knows where he's at.

The other big problem with this, John, is of course that that might make Tillerson feel really good. That the policy hasn't changed and he is, quote, "good" as he says. But what about other foreign leaders who are trying to track what we're doing in our world and our foreign policy. It's chaotic and it's not connected to what the president is saying. And the last thing I'd say about this, John, is when the president

tweets, it's an official statement. It is the commander-in-chief. I don't care how he says it he chooses Twitter, that's fine. It's an official statement. So I think everybody else in the world can be forgiven for being a little confused about exactly what our policy is.

BERMAN: Yes, and Twitter aside, you know, social media aside here, this seems to be evidence that the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, are not working in concert all the time. The fact that they have to ask each other these questions seems odd.

KIRBY: It's very odd. It's not the way it's normally done. And the Obama administration, the inter-agency process, though it could be frustrating for all commerce to understand that, it was deliberate and it was time consuming. And by the time that the president got to a podium, or in a statement said something, you can be sure that all the agencies had a vote, had a voice.

They didn't all get their way, but at least everybody was involved in the process and there was no surprise about what the president was going to go out and say. That does not appear to be the case in this administration.

BERMAN: All right. The secretary of state also pressed on let's call it moron-gate, the fact that it was reported last year, and the secretary never really flat out denied it that he called the president a moron after a meeting. Listen to this exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why didn't you deny calling the president a moron?

TILLERSON: You know, that's a really old question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You understand that by not answering the question, some people thought you were confirming the story.

TILLERSON: I think I've answered the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think you answered the question?

TILLERSON: I've answered the question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you call the president a moron?

TILLERSON: I'm not going to dignify the question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So I think he did answer the question, Admiral Kirby, there, do you?

KIRBY: I do. Look, John, you know, I was a spokesman for much of my professional life. And when you don't want to tell a lie but you also don't want to tell the whole truth, one of the tactics you use is to challenge the premise of the question being asked. And that's exactly what he did with Margaret there. And good old Margaret for pressing on him.

BERMAN: Yes.

KIRBY: But I think exactly right, he confirmed that the basic essence of the story that he did in fact call the president a moron.

BERMAN: North Korea, the secretary of state spoke on that. That jumped out to you, why?

KIRBY: Well, because, I mean, because he kept talking about big sticks. And one of the things that occurred to me as I listened to him, his comments was, you know, he basically suggested that there are back channel communications going on with the North Koreans which we knew about. But then he kind of suggested that they might be bearing fruit. I mean, he even hinted at the fact that the first conversation with the North Koreans might be one-on-one. But then later we bring in the Chinese, which tells me that they've done a lot more thinking about the details of how this might go than maybe we've been aware of before.

The other thing that occurred to me was, you know, he's talking about the pressure campaign when he talks about big sticks. But I'm sure he realizes that once you sit down and talk, those big sticks may lead you to the table, but they're not going to lead you to success. In order to have success in talks, you got to offer some carrots, too. And I have to believe that this administration is thinking about confidence building measures and some compromises that they might be able to make if they can induce the North Koreans to the table.

BERMAN: Admiral John Kirby, great to have you today. Enjoy your Presidents Day.

KIRBY: Thanks, John. Thank you.

BERMAN: All hail the king. The opening for Marvel's "Black Panther" doesn't just exceed expectations. It's shattering them, breaking several box office records along the way.

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[10:53:01] BERMAN: A possible new Russian doping scandal playing out in Pyeongchang. An athlete from Russia is suspected of using a banned substance, and it's the kind of athlete that's raising eyebrows.

Aleksandr Krushelnitckii won bronze in the mixed doubles curling event. A curler accused of doping. He's now awaiting the results of a secondary drug test. He apparently failed the first one.

All of this comes after the Russian Olympic Committee was banned from the games due to a state -- due to state sponsored doping.

Again, curlers doping allegedly.

Stay with us for more on that. In the meantime, "Black Panther" shattering expectations and records, raking in nearly $202 million at theaters this weekend. That's the fifth biggest opening of all time in Marvel's first ever film with an African-American director, expected to bring in an even bigger haul over the four-day Presidents weekend.

CNN Money reporter Frank Pallotta joins me now.

Frank, this is supposed to be a very good movie, it turns out.

FRANK PALLOTTA, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: It's -- it got a 97 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. That is one of the best scores for a superhero film ever. But where this is really raking in is in terms of money. We're seeing unlimited amount of money being come in from this movie. You said it's the fifth biggest movie of all time. It's the second biggest movie for Marvel which has made more than $13 billion in its run.

BERMAN: "Avengers" first?

PALLOTTA: "Avengers" is number one, which says a lot about this movie.

BERMAN: Right.

PALLOTTA: It has every single Marvel superhero you can think of. "Black Panther" is the story about Black Panther, which is a very kind of, at a point, a B list hero from much of its run compared to, say, Captain America, Iron Man. But what this is really big is it's the biggest -- it's the biggest opening for an African-American director by nearly $104 million. That's how big of a movie this is.

BERMAN: Phenomenal cast.

PALLOTTA: Phenomenal. You have Chadwick Bozeman, you have Michael B. Jordan who a lot of people are saying is one of the best Marvel villains they've ever had or one of the best villains in film in a very long time. It's just bringing in all of these types of just different types of feeling and emotions for this movie.

[10:55:07] BERMAN: Is this something that Marvel will try to use an example going forward?

PALLOTTA: I think it won't just be Marvel. I think this will be Hollywood going forward. The myth that predominantly black casts and an African-American director cannot bring in money, that myth has been shattered and it's gone now forever.

BERMAN: Shattered big time. Going this afternoon. Cannot wait.

PALLOTTA: You're going to love it. It's a really good time.

BERMAN: Frank Pallotta, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

President Trump taking on the FBI, his National Security adviser, Democrats, and now even Oprah. We're following all of this. Stay with us.

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